Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Arsenal’s 2009 FA Youth Cup squad…where are they now?

Arsenal’s under-18s face Manchester City this evening hoping to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit to reach the FA Youth Cup final.

Obviously, winning the trophy is no guarantee of a future successful career at the Emirates although the majority of the 2009 vintage, who beat Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate, did go on to enjoy some first team action.

But what happened next? We investigate…

James Shea
The keeper enjoyed a five-game stint on the bench in the Champions League at one point but that proved to be the nearest he came to Wenger’s first team. After loan spells at Southampton and Dagenham Shea struggled to find a club when he was released by the Gunners in 2013. He’s since worked his way back up to League Two where he plays for AFC Wimbledon.

Craig Eastmond
Looked promising for a while. The midfielder featured in the FA Cup, League Cup and the Premier League before scoring an own goal in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk. He eventually fell out of favour, in part because he got a telling off from the police for getting his mickey out in public. Now playing for Sutton United in the National League South.

Thomas Cruise
Gave the newspapers a week’s worth of punny headlines when he played for the Gunners against Olympiakos in the Champions League in December 2009. His ‘Mission Impossible’ proved to be earning a second game. Released by Torquay United at the end of last season.

Jack Wilshere
Last seen hiding in a London bin.

Jack Wilshere bin man
Exclusive picture of Jack Wilshere in central London on Saturday night

Kyle Bartley
Made his only Arsenal appearance in the same Champions League match as Tom Cruise, versus Olympiakos. Went on to have loan spells at Sheffield United and Rangers before moving to Swansea in 2012. He’s still on the books at the Liberty Stadium.

Luke Ayling
Another who featured in the defeat to Olympiakos before moving on loan to Yeovil. Spent four years with the Glovers after sealing a permanent move and now in the Championship with Bristol City.

Henri Lansbury
There’s no doubt that his League Cup goal in the 4-1 win at Sp*rs in September 2010 was the highlight of his time at Arsenal. Highly rated, he never quite reached the heights expected of him at London Colney but has enjoyed something of a renaissance at Nottingham Forest where he’s club captain. Does have to play with Andy Reid though.

Francis Coquelin
Established Arsenal first teamer.

Gilles Sunu
Now plying his trade at Ligue 1 side Angers after four years with Lorient. Came off the bench for Arsenal against Olympiakos in 2009 and was a substitute when Arsenal lost 8-2 at Old Trafford in 2011.

Sanchez Watt
Became the fifth player of the Arsene Wenger era to score on his debut when he hit the net in a 2-0 League Cup win over West Bromwich Albion in 2009. Extended his contract that same year and again in 2011 but struggled on loan at Southend, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Crawley Town before signing for Colchester United. The England under-19 international was last seen playing for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Looked like he had the tricks and physique to become an Arsenal star but failed to build on his potential. “Jay can play anywhere,” said Wenger in 2009. After five appearances in the first team it appears the boss meant, anywhere but Arsenal. Loans at Blackpool, Doncaster and Cardiff were followed by a permanent move to Ipswich. He’s since played for Bristol City and QPR and in January signed on loan for MK Dons.

Rhys Murphy
He never played for the first team but he was a regular in the England youth setup before switching allegiances to Ireland with whom he earned an under-21 cap. Spent time on loan at Brentford and Preston before an interesting move to Dutch side Telstar. Currently on loan at AFC Wimbledon.

Charlie Mann
The keeper appears to have moved to Crystal Palace and then Harlow. Not sure if he’s still playing. We’re assuming he’s not the same Charlie Mann who cut off his penis and stabbed his mum. 

Oguzhan Ozyakup
‘Oggy’ joined the Gunners from AZ Alkmaar and made the first of two first-team appearances against Shrewsbury in 2011, providing an assist for Yossi Benayoun to round off a 3-1 victory. Moved to Turkish giants Besiktas in 2012 and established himself as a regular in the Turkish international setup.

Conor Henderson
Looked a real talent (and a lot like Aaron Ramsey) when he made his debut in the FA Cup against Leyton Orient but saw his progress stunted repeatedly by serious injuries. Joined Hull City on a permanent deal and is currently at Grimsby Town after two years with Crawley.

Cedric Evina
Never played for the first team. Currently under contract at Doncaster Rovers.

Emmanuel Frimpong
Enjoyed cult status on Twitter during a fleeting flirtation with first team football at the Emirates. In total Frimpong made 16 appearances for the Gunners before a serious knee injury curtailed his progress. Attempted to rehabilitate his first team chances on loan at Wolves, Charlton and Fulham before he moved to Barnsley. Currently in his third season playing for Russian side Ufa. We’re unable to confirm whether ‘Dench’ has taken the Republic of Bashkortostan by storm.

UPDATE – Amazing timing…Frimpong has been released by Ufa in the last hour. 

Related articles



newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thank you for this article. Nice to see that a lot of them make decent careers for themselves out there! It’s a tough world one might add. So many talented people who fail to make it in a big way.

Arsene-al fan

Interesting that that was a top U18 side and we’ve had two first teamers from it with most of the others doing OK or less at lower level sides. Hence for a less gifted side we’ll be lucky to get any first teamers.

Shows how hard it is to make it to the first team from the youth team.


Wiki tells me that Frimster isn’t qutie setting the world on fire in Ufa. At least not in the way one might have hoped: ‘On 1 September 2014, Frimpong signed a three-year contract with Russian Premier League side FC Ufa.[24] In the first game of the 2015–16 Russian Premier League, a match against Spartak Moscow, Frimpong was sent off in the 31st minute for making an obscene gesture at a Spartak supporter. Afterwards, Frimpong took to social media to apologize for his action, but at the same time blamed racist abuse from the fans for what provoked him to make… Read more »

Indie Gooner

Its Indian Super League, arseblog. But dont worry its not FIFA affiliated.

Oooh Ahhh Ray Parlour!

Loved that article! It cracked me up.

I really thought Lansbury was our new Ray Parlour for a while. He’ll always have that goal against Spurs though.


For most footballers life must be quite hard (being consistently on the bench in league two, for example, would be loooong), with very early retirement. What do they do next? PE teacher probably.


Damn, Eastmond’s career drop is amazing.
From Champions League to Sutton United in the National League South? How is that possible? How has he not given up yet?

Fair play to him.


reminds me of Adrian Clarke who played all tiers from Premier League to Conference

Timothy Lumsden

Think rhys Murphy played for crawley Town on loan for a while and scored some goals.


JET had everything to be an amazing first team and future player. Absolute waste of space.
Him and Ravel Morrison are absolute wasters.


Frimpong and Eboue seem like they could have a future career as stand-up comedy partners.

George Stevens

I was in several classes at school with the Charlie Mann that cut off his penis and stabbed his mum and can confirm that he was never an Arsenal player of you were still wondering…


What became of ryo miyaichi? Ryodino


He signed with FC St Pauli in 2 Bundesliga, but has been injured and only recently started to play.

Bob Karbo

Ozyakup is one of the “ones that got away (kind of)”. He’s probably been the best player in Turkey this year, and is absolutey crucial for Besiktas who are leading the Super Lig. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him make a move to one of the “major” leagues in the summer.


Christ, I remember when people were excited about Frimpong.

Anybody interested in buying an Ufa season ticket?

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x