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…
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.
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.
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.
Last seen hiding in a London bin.
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.
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.
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.
Established Arsenal first teamer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
Never played for the first team. Currently under contract at Doncaster Rovers.
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.