WHERE ARE THE FA CUP YOUTH WINNERS OF 2009 NOW?
Added on: 16th Mar 2016
Goalkeeper James Shea remained an Arsenal player until
2013 when he was forced to drop into non-league football
to kick-start his career after unsuccessful loans at
Southampton and Dagenham & Redbridge. Shea's
impressive form at Harrow Borough earned him a move back
to the professional game in 2014, joining League Two's
AFC Wimbledon where he's been number one ever since.
Craig Eastmond made as many as 10 first-team appearances
for Arsenal in the two seasons that followed the 2009
Youth Cup triumph, including four in the Premier League.
But his future ultimately lay elsewhere. A loan to Colchester
became permanent in 2013 and Eastmond later joined Yeovil Town.
He has since dropped into non-league football with
Sutton United in 2015.
Kyle Bartley's Arsenal career came to an end when he joined
Swansea in 2012 after just one senior Gunners appearance to
his name - as a substitute in a Champions League game
against Olympiacos. Prior to leaving North London, the
defender had played regularly during loan spells at Sheffield
United and Rangers. However Bartley has mostly been a
backup in south Wales.
Regular football in the lower leagues awaited London-born
Luke Ayling when he was let go by Arsenal in 2010. The
defender joined Yeovil and went on to play nearly 200 games
for the club at League One and Championship level.
Ayling was then an important part of Bristol City's promotion
back to the second tier in 2014/15 and has since remained a
regular with the Robins in the Championship.
Thomas Cruise was handed his senior Arsenal debut in the
same Champions League game as Kyle Bartley - his sole taste
of first-team football at his boyhood team. He later struggled
to find a club, going on trial with Sampdoria, Scunthorpe
and New England Revolution. Cruise eventually signed with
Torquay United in 2012. Unfortunately a knee injury ended his
2014/15 season early and he hasn't had a club since his
release in the summer.
Ultimately not deemed good enough by Arsenal, Henri Lansbury
has at least forged himself a promising career at Championship
level, so far making well over 100 appearances for
Nottingham Forest since joining the club in 2012. Before then, the
midfielder had played eight times for the Gunners at first-team
level, scoring once, and also spent time on loan with Scunthorpe,
Watford, Norwich and West Ham.
A player far more popular and famous than his on-field talent
would suggest, Emmanuel Frimpong is something of a cult
figure in English football. The Ghanaian played a total of 16
first-team games for Arsenal, interspersed with loans at
Wolves, Charlton and Fulham. Frimpong left the Emirates
for good in 2014 when he signed for Barnsley for an
undisclosed fee. Later that year he moved to FC Ufa in
Russia where he's encountered racial abuse and his career
appears to have stalled.
For a long time Francis Coquelin looked like he would head the
same way as most of his 2009 Youth Cup colleagues and
ultimately leave Arsenal with just a handful of senior
appearances to his name. But after loans at Lorient,
Freiburg and Charlton were nothing special, Coquelin has
firmly established himself as an invaluable asset back in
North London. His big break finally came in December 2014
because of an injury crisis and he grabbed it with both hands.
One of the younger members of the Class of 2009, Jack Wilshere
was the biggest in the group having already made his first-team
debut at the age of just 16 - becoming Arsenal's
youngest ever league player in the process. After a successful
loan spell at Bolton the following year, Wilshere quickly
established himself as a first-team regular with the Gunners.
However, a string of long-term injuries have wrecked his
career to date and he's actually yet to play in 2015/16.
French forward Gilles Sunu was plucked from the Châteauroux
academy by Arsenal in 2007 for a fee reported to be worth up
to £1m. But he was gone again only four years later after
just two senior appearances and loans at Derby and Lorient.
Lorient signed Sunu permanently in 2011 and he's been playing
regularly for the Ligue 1 surprise package Angers since
The captain of the side, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas ultimately had
to drop down the league ladder to get his senior career going.
The striker had made just five first-team appearances for
Arsenal by the time he was sold to Ipswich in 2011, having
earlier been on loan at Blackpool, Doncaster and Cardiff.
Emmanuel-Thomas' goals later helped Bristol City win promotion
back to the Championship last season - as a teammate of
ex-Gunners colleague Luke Ayling - earning him a summer
move to QPR. He's since joined MK Dons on loan.
Sanchez Watt (pictured) - Actually started the second leg of the
final in place of Emmanuel Frimpong. Later joined several
Football League clubs on loan before being released in 2013.
Has been with Kerala Blasters in India since 2015.
Rhys Murphy - The striker left Arsenal for the Dutch Eerste Divisie in
2012 where he scored seven goals for Telstar. Now on loan at
Grimsby from Oldham after a spell with Dagenham.
Conor Henderson - Has found it tough to establish himself
anywhere since failing to make the grade at Arsenal. Joined
Grimsby from Crawley Town on a permanent deal in January 2016.
Cedric Evina - The Cameroonian left-back never played for the
Gunners first-team and later played for Oldham and Charlton.
Has been a regular at Doncaster in League One this season.
Oğuzhan Özyakup - Now a star at Besiktas, who he joined from
Arsenal in 2012, the Dutch-born central midfielder is also a full
Turkish international with 13 caps to his name since 2013.