Neal Maupay used to plan what he wanted to achieve in football.

Where he wanted to play, how many goals he wanted to score.

Those days have long gone. He has learned a bit about professional football since then.

Goal No.10 this season will not be a target – apart from the fact it is the next goal.

But it will be, if not a significant moment, then a notable landmark for player and club alike.

He would become only the eighth player in Albion’s history to scored ten goals or more in the top flight.

That comprises four seasons back in the old first division and three to date in the Premier League.

Maupay would join some club legends in doing it in one campaign.

Like the late Michael Robinson, who did it twice in the old days and scored 37 in total in the First Division. Or Peter Ward, Andy Ritchie and Gordon Smith.

Robinson’s back-to-back double digits has been emulated in the last two campaigns by Glenn Murray, with 12 and 13.

The only time no one reached ten league goals in a top-tier season for Albion was in 1982-83, when they went down.

Maupay admits he should have been there by now. He has had chances which should have been put away – but then so does every striker.

Still nine so far in a team who don’t score many is decent going in a debut Premier League campaign.

He told The Argus: “Strikers already have enough pressure on them to score a lot of goals.

“I don’t want to tell myself you are going to score five, ten, 15 goals.

“I just know I need to score a lot and I want to score a lot. I don’t have a number.

“I don’t want to set a target at ten because maybe I will be able to score 15.”

Maupay adopts that same philosophy for his career in general. At least he does now.

There will be interest from his homeland when the Seagulls host Manchester United on Tuesday.

He was asked by French television about where he sees himself in a few years’ time.

The inference was clearly that he should be aiming to play for a bigger club than Albion.

Maupay did not play along and spoke very highly of his current employers.

But he was unclear on what targets and objectives would be.

He told The Argus: “Throughout my career I have been through tough times when I wasn’t playing and wasn’t scoring.

“I learned a lot about myself and I found a way to stay focussed on my game and my abilities and I just like to think day by day. Not plan anything.

“Just try your best every day and not have any regrets. That what I do.

“I am not planning anything. I just work hard and see here it takes me.”

He added: “When I was 16 and I started, I was full of dreams.

“When you are 16, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know what is professional football.

“You might be like, ‘I want to score 20 goals, I want to sign for this club, I want to win this trophy or that trophy’.

“But football is not like that. Football is hard and it is a very long journey.

“I have been lucky to start really early so I have been able to learn a lot pretty early.”

Maupay is well aware there will be focus on him.

He was, after all, selected by broadcast media for some early media work yesterday in the run-up to the game.

His words will be heard by audiences in this country, the USA and France.

There will – and has been – talk about that afternoon when he made headlines and was the matchwinner versus Arsenal.

It was nothing personal. Maupay does not know any of the Gunners’ players as friends with the exception of Alexandre Lacazette.

He does not keep in touch with many fellow footballers at all, in fact.

He said: “I don’t have a lot of football friends. In France I have my circle. Some of them are footballers but most of them aren’t.

“I’m not on the pitch to make friends. As long as I have got a really good relationship with my team-mates, that is all that matters for me.”

Martial is one to count among professional acquaintances.

The two of them were team-mates briefly for France under-21s.

They are close to the same age but not close enough to have come through the younger age groups of the national set-up together.

Martial was at Lyon, Maupay briefly at their arch rivals St Etienne, though it was there that he found life challenging, hence that change of outlook on his professional life.

Both strikers have made it to the big league and Martial went into this weekend on a high after his hat-trick to see off Sheffield United.

Maupay said: “I played with Martial I think it was two times and he was a good guy. But since then I haven’t spoken to him.

“We were cool together and he is the same player he was before.

“Always that finishing quality, that technical ability, that pace.

“He is the same player, same guy.”

Not so Maupay, He has changed. But double digits would be a landmark.