Joe Jacobson believes he endured the toughest night of his life after being given a tortuous time by Premier League giants Arsenal.
Shrewsbury star Jacobson was on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat by the Gunners in Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie as the League Two side fell away after taking a shock lead.
The 24-year-old endured a near-impossible task after going head-to-head with Arsenal’s new £12m wing wizard Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Jacobson says the encounter with Arsene Wenger’s side was a real eye opener and has given him a real insight into some of the talent at the highest level.
“It was the hardest game of football I’ve ever played in my life,” said Jacobson.
“When you watch them on TV you don’t realise just how good they are. Even when we were close to them, it was impossible for us to get the ball back. It’s just a different level to what we’re used to.
“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is so quick and he’s going to be a really good player for them. He runs at you and it’s difficult to stop him but I thought we did quite well.”
Left-back Jacobson had hoped to swap shirts with Arsenal’s Yossi Benayoun at the end of the match but missed out at the final whistle.
“We couldn’t get near Benayoun for most of the night because he’s just such a class act,” added Jacobson.
“He passed and moved so effortlessly and it was difficult for us.
“I didn’t even manage to get his shirt at the end as one of the other Shrewsbury lads had asked him after just 15 minutes.
“It would have been nice to get it because he really is a class player.”
Cheered on by a group of 35 family members and friends, Jacobson said: “It was a great experience and you always want to test yourself against the very best.
"It’s for moments like playing Arsenal that you play football. It was a really surreal experience.”
Benayoun scored his first goal since joining on loan from Chelsea, Arsenal third on the night.
But he revealed on Twitter that he would be out for a week with a strain.