Feature

Where are they now?

Class of 2009, where are they now?

By Lloyd Webb

With a team managed by Steve Bould and featuring Jack Wilshere, Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin, Arsenal won the 2009 FA Youth Cup in fine style with a 6-2 aggregate victory over Liverpool in the final.

But where are they now? We track down the squad to find out how their careers have transpired since then.

 

Steve Bould Steve BouldHaving guided the Gunners to victory in 2009, Bould continued as under-18 manager until 2012 when he was appointed as the club's assistant manager following the retirement of Pat Rice.

 

 

James Shea James SheaThe first-choice goalkeeper for the duration of the competition, Shea never made a senior appearance for Arsenal and, after unsuccessful loan spells at Southampton and Dagenham & Redbridge, he joined Needham Market. After just one appearance, Shea then joined Harrow Borough before moving to AFC Wimbledon, where he continues to ply his trade.

 

 

Craig Eastmond Craig EastmondEastmond made 10 appearances for the senior side before he loan spells at Millwall, Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United. After impressing for the latter, he joined on a permanent basis before moves to Yeovil Town and then Sutton United.

 

 

Thomas Cruise Thomas CruiseThe versatile academy product made one senior appearance for the club in the Champions League against Olympiacos. He then went on to join Carlisle United on loan before moving Torquay United.

 

 

Kyle Bartley Kyle BartleyFollowing loan spells at Sheffield United and Rangers, centre-back Bartley joined Premier League side Swansea City. He made one appearance for the senior side. 

 

 

Emmanuel Frimpong Emmanuel FrimpongEmmanuel Frimpong, or as he was more affectionally known as “Frimmy,” was a popular figure at Arsenal because of his extrovert personality, catchphrases and musical collaborations with rapper Lethal Bizzle. The midfielder made 16 first-team appearances and was loaned to Wolves, Charlton Athletic and Fulham during his time with the club. Following a short stay with Barnsley, Frimpong joined Russian side Ufa where he continues to play. Although he represented England at youth level, Frimmy has one cap for Ghana.

 

 

Luke Ayling Luke AylingLuke Ayling was with the Gunners from the age of 10 before leaving eight years later for Yeovil Town, following a loan spell with the Glovers. The defender spent four years there before he moved to Bristol City, where he continues to play.

 

 

Henri Lansbury Henri LansburyLansbury was an integral member of the 2009 midfield, along with Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong. While Lansbury only made 16 appearances under Arsene Wenger, he had loan spells with Scunthorpe United, Watford, Norwich City and West Ham United. He joined Nottingham Forest in 2012, where he has made more than 100 appearances.

 

 

Francis Coquelin Francis CoquelinCoquelin has established himself as an integral member of the first-team - however, it was not always smooth sailing for the Frenchman. Following loan spells at Lorient and Freiburg, he apeared to be no nearer to making his breakthrough. After a brief loan at Charlton Athletic in 2015, Coquelin returned to seal his place as a key member of Arsenal’s midfield and helped Arsene Wenger’s men lift the FA Cup.

 

 

Giles Sunu Giles SunuThe striker’s finest moment in the competition came against Wolves when, following an injury to Rhys Murphy, he came on in the 35th minute to score an hat-trick. However, he made only 5 appearances for the first team and, following loans at Derby County and Lorient, he joined the latter on a permanent basis. He spent four years there before moving to Evian and then Angers, where he still plays.

 

 

Jack Wilshere Jack WilshereWilshere became Arsenal’s youngest-ever Premier League debutant at 16 years and 256 days. The Englishman has 28 international caps to his name and has represented the club more than 100 times. Still only 24, the midfielder has captained the Gunners and has also won the FA Cup twice.

 

 

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas Jay Emmanuel-ThomasAnother graduate that didn’t quite make it at Arsenal, Emmanuel-Thomas now plays for Queens Park Rangers. Following loans with Blackpool, Doncaster Rovers and Cardiff City, the forward joined Ipswich Town and then Bristol City. After impressing for the Robins, he joined QPR where he is still playing.

 

 

Rhys Murphy Rhys MurphyMurphy played a pivotal part in the Youth Cup success, scoring a number of crucial goals. After spells with Brentford and Preston North End, the striker left for Dutch club Telstar, then Dagenham & Redbridge before settling with Oldham Athletic. He was not finished there and is currently on loan at Crawley Town.

 

 

Sanchez Watt Sanchez WattThe most traveled of the graduates from the class of 2009, Watt now plays for Indian side Kerala Blasters. The quick forward scored bagged a brace in the Youth Cup semi final against Manchester City and scored in both legs of the final against Liverpool. Watt made three appearences for the senior side and claimed a goal but was loaned to Southend United, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Crawley Town and then signed for Colchester United before making the move abroad.

 

 

Conor Henderson Conor HendersonHenderson joined the Gunners aged eight before leaving the club 14 years later. The midfielder made one first-team appearance and was sent on loan to Coventry City before joining Hull City in 2013. Another loan deal followed to Stevenage until Crawley Town signed him. Henderson then went on loan to Grimsby Town, who he later joined permanently.

 

 

Cedric Evina Cedric EvinaThe left back never made a senior appearance for Arsenal. After 11 years with the club, he joined Oldham Athletic, first on loan before they made it permanent. Evina then made 23 appearances for Charlton Athletic before joining Doncaster Rovers.

 

 

Oguzhan Ozyakup Oguzhan OzyakupOzyakup, affectionally known as “Ozzy,” has gone on to make quite the career for himself. After leaving Arsenal in 2012, he joined Besiktas, where he continues to play. The midfielder represented the Netherlands at youth level but since switched allegiance to play for Turkey where he has made 15 senior appearances.

 

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