Born: Rotterdam, February 17, 1994
Height: 5ft 11in
By Lambros Lambrou
What does Kyle Ebecilio have in common with Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney? Apart from being talented footballers, they have all picked up the ‘Golden Player’ award in UEFA Under-17 Championships. The gong is presented to the outstanding player of the tournament and Kyle stood out as the Netherlands won the tournament for the first time in their history.
The naturally modest youngster remembers the tournament fondly, but plays down the significance of the recognition of his personal achievement. “I was very happy that we won the tournament,” he recalls. “We played very well as a team and scored lots of goals, especially as we beat Germany 5-2 in the final. It was a dream come true for us and we were awarded for all our hard work. I played as holding midfielder in the tournament but I was the top scorer with three goals, including our fifth in the final and the only goal in our 1-0 semi-final win over England.
“I was helped because I played with one of my former Feyenoord colleagues, Anass Achahbar. We know the way we each play very well because we played together from being small kids, so he made a lot of chances for me. Generally, though, I learnt a lot from the tournament and I am hoping to get more goals for Arsenal too.
“The Golden Player award was nice, especially when you see the quality of players who have won it before, but it was a team effort and us all lifting that trophy for our country made me the proudest.”
The youngster learned much during the tournament, but picked up some valuable lessons before. “In the early qualifiers before the tournament, I got sent off in a match – straight red,” he says. “I lost my cool and reacted to a bad challenge on me. Ultimately though, my team paid the price because they had to carry on with 10 men and I was also suspended for a further three games.
"Thankfully, the squad showed its quality and I was able to come back in the final group qualifiers, helping repay the lads and my coaches and doing my part to get us to the finals in Serbia. I am now more conscious of staying calm and not reacting to things that happen during the game in a way that may get me sent off and cause a problem for my team.”
Kyle is clearly proud to play for his country, but when he is with Holland he takes Arsenal with him. “I am very conscious that I am representing Arsenal too even when I am away with Holland,” he reveals. “I have great pride in my club and people see that I have a much more professional attitude since I came to England – that is because of the way we are taught here. I get asked questions by the players about what it is like being at Arsenal and they are all very impressed when I tell them about our facilities, the training, and the general atmosphere at the Club.
"Although there may not be as many Dutch scouts to watch me, the fact that I play for Arsenal means that they do keep track and hopefully that will help my selection for the UEFA Under-19 Championships this summer.”
Kyle signed as a professional a year ago, but says it made no real difference in terms of his attitude. “It was good to sign a professional contract with Arsenal and it made me very proud,” he admits. “But I know that it does not mean that I have made it as a footballer. I know that I have to keep improving to get better and better.
“I have a great opportunity at Arsenal and I have been helped very much by the fact that my mum, dad and younger brother moved over to England with me. We all live together as a family and that allows me to concentrate on my football and live a normal life as if I were in Holland. I know that feeling homesick has been a problem for players in the past. Young players have a lot to take in, especially players from Europe who have to also develop their English. That would have been so much harder for me if I did not have my family around.”
Who did you play for before Arsenal?
Excelsior and Feyenoord, both are in Rotterdam
Best ever advice?
Never give up
Best moment in football before joining Arsenal?
Transferring to Feyenoord
Which team did you support growing up?
Who did you pretend to be on the playground?
Favourite lessons at school?
Tennis and swimming
Other sports good at, at school?
What was your favourite kids’ TV programme growing up?
Anything on Cartoon Network
Who was your favourite teacher at school?
Miss Nancy, at De Wissel School
Which person/s has been the most influential on your football career so far?
Which other clubs were interested in signing you before Arsenal?
Man City, Chelsea and the top clubs in Holland
Favourite item of clothing?
If you could have any car in the world, which one would you choose?
A white Porsche Cayenne
Which current Arsenal player is your role model?
What’s the best thing about being part of the Academy?
The fact that everyone really appreciates each other
Tell us three words to describe you as a player...
In Dutch I have two: ‘overzicht’ and ‘steck’!
Tell us three words to describe you as a person...
I’ll give you two in English: trustworthy and disciplined
Tell us your favourite comedian?
Who’s your most talented team-mate?