If any Arsenal supporters didn’t previously know of Roarie Deacon then they certainly do now after the Hale End academy product catapulted himself into the consciousness of the wider footballing fraternity with an excellent display for Sutton United against the Gunners in the FA Cup this week.
While at Arsenal, Deacon was never really seen as one of the club’s standout talents. Instead he worked tirelessly in the background, securing a professional contract and breaking into the reserve team, where he enjoyed moderate success.
Ultimately, though, a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal cost Deacon his chance at the club and he was released in 2011, seemingly never to be mentioned in Arsenal circles again.
Deacon initially moved to Sunderland, where he also failed to make a first-team appearance, with switches to Stevenage and Crawley Town following before he was picked up by Sutton.
Now 25, Deacon has never been a prolific goalscorer – he has found the net just 14 times in 133 senior appearances in his career – but he has strove arduously to improve other aspects of his game, with his direct runs and trickery earmarking him as a threat.
The winger is out of contract at Sutton at the end of the season, and, off the back of his display against Arsenal, which saw him strike the crossbar with a ferocious strike, Deacon has been linked with a host of clubs higher up the football pyramid, including Fulham, Charlton Athletic, Cardiff City, Millwall and Nottingham Forest.
After falling into non-league football, it appears that there could finally be a positive trajectory to Deacon’s career and, if such a move does come to fruition, his performance against Arsenal, where it all began for him, will certainly have played a major part in proceedings.