Emmanuel Frimpong took a major step in his recovery bid with a run out for Arsenal's reserves on Tuesday evening.
The England youth international, who is likely to commit his senior future to Ghana, was tipped to make the breakthrough into Arsenal's first team this season, but his hopes were dealt a crushing blow when he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury last summer.
It has taken Frimpong seven months to return to competitive football, which is ahead of schedule as he was expected to miss the whole season, and after coming through the 4-2 win over Sunderland's second string he has been challenged to continue his progress.
"It's great for Emmanuel, he was distraught after doing his knee," Gunners reserve coach Neil Banfield told the club's official website. "It's great to see him back out on the pitch.
"He was giving himself every opportunity for the manager to pick him [before his injury] and now he has got to get himself back to that level. He is coming back and playing which, at this moment in time, is the best thing."
Jens Lehmann also got another 90 minutes under his belt, as he looks to improve his fitness levels ahead of a possible first-team return.