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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

Tyias Browning admitted it was mission accomplished after the Under-21s qualified for the top division ahead of next season.

The 2013/14 campaign served as a way of qualifyication ahead of the league structure changing for 2014/15, where there will be two national divisions.

Those that finished in the top half this season would make up that top division with Everton targeting exactly that outcome and, baring an anxious wait in the last weeks of the campaign, it has largely gone to plan.

Skipper Browning is satisfied to have achieved the target laid out before the campaign kicked off by coach Alan Stubbs. "I think we have done well to get into the top half but I don’t think we have finished as high as we wanted to," he said.

"That was probably down to so many players going out on loan and we had a few injuries as well.

"All things considered, we are quite happy that we have managed to get into that top division when the league splits next season.

"Stubbsy was telling us before the season started that he is more concerned with the performances, and he has said that all the way through.

"At this level, league position is not as important as it is for the first team. Obviously we wanted to do well but he would rather us put in a good performance in every game we play in."

Browning's own personal development has seen him take on the added role of captain, and it is a responsibility he has enjoyed. "It was nice to have the armband and I was happy to be picked for it," he added.

"Its not something I’ve felt I’ve had to grow into – I have just gone about my business. Its more off the pitch. You have to be more of a role model and an example.

"Its your job to keep the lads together. But that’s quite easy because we are all mates. We know each other quite well."
So having led the group to the top tier ahead of next season, Browning can go into the off-season satisfied with a job well done. "I think individually we have all progressed a lot," he concluded.

"The opportunity for some of the lads to go out on loan has certainly played a part in that. I think Stubbsy can be happy with the season overall."

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