Arsene Wenger's League Cup debutants: what happened next for 48 young Gunners
Arsenal 6-0 Sheff United: 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 regularly starred 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 in 2010. A familiar pattern of unfufilled talent saw him net only 12 goals in 78 games for the Tigers, though, and he spent a season with Buriram United in Thailand. Eventually joined Leyton Orient in 2014 for a generally successful three-year spell, before signing for MLS outfit Philadelphia Union this year.
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. Loaned to Bundesliga club Freiburg for the 2013/14 season, then Charlton for the start of the next, and it looked like his Arsenal career was finally heading to an inevitable end until a customary injury crisis handed him his big break midway through the 2014/15 season. Hasn't looked back since.
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, Redbridge, Gillingham, then Barnet where he suffered a serious cruciate knee ligament injury. Now with Eastleigh in the National League.
Arsenal 2-0 West Brom: 22 Sep, 2009
Academy man Watt opens the scoring before Vela seals the deal in the second half.
Wojciech Szczesny: Arsenal’s young Polish keeper had already been making a name for himself at reserve level before making his debut here. He didn’t have a quiet evening, being called into action twice to deny Simon Cox and Robert Koren. A couple of months later he would go to Brentford on loan and enjoy great success, before returning to Arsenal and establishing himself as the club’s No.1. Was loaned to Roma after he lost that spot and impressed in two seasons in Serie A to the point that Juventus swooped in to buy him for over £10m this summer. His first game for Juve finished with a clean sheet in a win against Chievo.
Sanchez Watt: It was 18-year-old Watt who grabbed the opener on his debut after Carlos Vela’s shot had been parried by Dean Kiely. The striker came into this season off the back of a successful FA Youth Cup-winning run, but his career stalled somewhat after this. A succession of loan spells brought nothing but false hope, and after finally leaving for Colchester on a permanent basis, he jumped ship to Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League in 2015, then returned to the England with Crawley Town a year later.
Gilles Sunu: Another FA Youth Cup winner who offered signs of encouragement with an energetic display. Like Watt, though, his Arsenal career fell by the wayside. After a couple of loans at Derby and French side Lorient he joined the latter on a permanent basis in 2011. After showing signs of settling in France alongside former Gunner Jeremie Aliadiere, he made two quick moves to Evian and then Ligue 1 new boys Angers in 2015.
Arsenal 3-1 Shrewsbury: 20 Sep, 2011
James Collins shocks the Emirates with an early goal but the Gunners roar back with goals from Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Benayoun.
Ryo Miyaichi: The Japanese winger never held down a regular place at the Emirates Stadium after briefly exciting Arsenal fans with his pace and trickery. A succession of long-term injuries have stalled his career but now he’s back and looking to make up for lost time – with St. Pauli in Germany's second division.
Oguzhan Ozyakup: Came on for the last 13 minutes in his competitive debut for Arsenal. The young Turkish midfielder didn’t have much time to make an impact but did so in his short stint on the pitch, setting up Yossi Benayoun for Arsenal's third of the night. At the end of the season he was sold to Besiktas for €500k, and has since made a great impression for the Turkish side. Made his Turkey debut in 2013 – although he could have played for the Netherlands too. A boy done good.
Chuks Aneke: The powerful midfielder swept all in front of him in the U21s, but found first-team life more difficult. This was Aneke's only Gunners appearance, preceding loan spells with Stevenage, Preston and Crewe (twice). He joined Belgium's Zulte Waregem in 2014 but returned to these shores two years later when he joined MK Dons.
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