Our Arsenal Academy facility was formally unveiled on Friday, following a major redevelopment project.
The completion of the multi-million pound two year project was celebrated via the inaugural Liam Brady Cup which saw us welcome Under-16s teams from Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich for a special weekend of youth football.
Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis welcomed coaches, staff and key former Academy stalwarts Liam Brady, Roy Massey and David Court to the event saying: "This is now a spectacular facility which has been built on the shoulders of the men who worked so hard to establish the Arsenal Academy.
"Our challenge now is to continue to take it forwards and create a pipeline of players who have the attributes to play for our first team."
Our club captain Per Mertesacker also attended the event which saw our own Under-16s lift the trophy after victories over all three visiting teams. He was joined by former Academy Manager Andries Jonker and Freddie Ljungberg, who left for Wolfsburg two months ago and made a flying visit to attend the reopening.
The Academy now features a number of full-size pitches, including an exhibition pitch with the same Desso surface and dimensions as Emirates Stadium. The pitches are named after the original four stands at Highbury, in recognition of the club’s long tradition of developing home-grown talent.
The new main building houses a state-of-the art gymnasium, a new analysts’ suite and recreational space for our young players. There is also a restaurant area, changing rooms, classrooms, offices and medical space. The David Rocastle indoor sports hall has been refurbished, with a new 3G surface and a wrap-around design that gives the impression of playing at Emirates Stadium.
Imagery of Academy graduates including Alex Iwobi, Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin, Hector Bellerin, Jack Wilshere, Emi Martinez, Chuba Akpom, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Wojciech Szczesny cover the walls as inspiration to the boys.
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