From Vela to Van Persie, Sunu to Cesc: Arsene Wenger's League Cup debutants

From Van Persie to Vela; Spicer to Sunu ("who?!" you cry), the League Cup has long been Arsene Wenger's fine-tuning laboratory for blooding Arsenal's prodigous stars of tomorrow. 

There's been mixed success, of course, but who can doubt the usefulness of English football's third-favourite competition to the Gunners' fastidious Frenchman? 

So here's a glance at some of the fresh-faced youngsters to have made their names in the red and white on frosty Tuesday nights...

Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd: 23 Sep, 2008

Vela chips his way to a hat-trick, Bendtner grabs a brace and Jack Wilshere gets his first Gunners goal in this Emirates rout. 

Jay Simpson: The Enfield-born striker played in an U18 game aged just 13, and  regularlystarred for Arsenal reserves whilst still at school in Islington. Simpson also has his own unique piece of history, as he was the first player to hit a hat-trick at the Emirates in a 3-2 Youth Cup win over Cardiff City in 2007. Despite his potential he made only two appearances, and was farmed out on loan to Millwall, West Brom and QPR before signing permanently for Hull City in 2010. A familiar pattern of unfufilled talent saw him net only 12 goals in 78 games for the Tigers, though, and he is currently playing for Buriram United in Thailand on a contract worth a reported £40,000 a week.   

Francis Coquelin: The French defensive midfielder has also covered for Arsenal at right midfield and right-back. Coquelin began his career playing for AS Laval Bourny before leaving for Stade Lavallois, where Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi spotted him playing for France in an U17 match against Israel. Currently on loan to Bundesliga club FC Freiburg for the whole of this season. Capped seven times by France U21s.

Gavin Hoyte: The younger brother of ex-Arsenal player Justin, both shared their former British sprinter mother's pace. Hoyte Jr. played in all five of England's matches at the 2007 U17 World Cup but never made the first-team grade at Arsenal. After loans spells at Watford, Brighton, Lincoln and Wimbledon he joined Dagenham and Redbridge last term before moving on to Coventry City this summer.  


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