Barking Academy Director Mick O’Shea keen to do more Arsenal & Barking tournaments

PUBLISHED: 07:30 08 December 2017

Some of the students face the camera at Mayesbrook Park after competing in the Arsenal & Barking Year Four Schools Cup (pic: Barking FC).

Some of the students face the camera at Mayesbrook Park after competing in the Arsenal & Barking Year Four Schools Cup (pic: Barking FC).


The Blues agreed a player development partnership with the Gunners recently and the link has been a big success already

George Carey pupils face the camera after winning the inaugural Arsenal & Barking Year Four Schools Cup (pic: Barking FC). George Carey pupils face the camera after winning the inaugural Arsenal & Barking Year Four Schools Cup (pic: Barking FC).

Barking Academy Director Mick O’Shea is looking to put on more competitions for school children from the Borough after a successful tournament last Friday.

The Blues’ Mayesbrook Park home hosted the ‘Arsenal & Barking Year Four Schools Cup’ with 15 schools taking part and George Carey winning on the day.

Over 150 children were present at the competition and the Bostik North club are looking to do many more after recently agreeing a player development partnership with the Premier League giants.

O’Shea said: “We are looking to help Arsenal identify young talented lads from Barking & Dagenham, so that’s the plan.

“We want to nurture the gifted and talented kids and the rough diamonds and hopefully they end up with a shiny one in the Premier League like Alex Iwobi, who was picked up at a young age from close to here.

“It really is the focus and we start from even below Year Four, so we will be looking to do Year Three and Year Two competitions after Christmas.

“The actual link is right the way down from the youngsters to the academy stuff which Rob (O’Brien) and I do on a daily basis with four to five-year-olds.

“Basically the format is Arsenal have coaches come in to Barking Football Club on a weekly basis on a Monday and Thursday.

“They nurture and bring on kids and if they show real potential, they’ll be asked to go to a pre-academy with one at Wadham Lodge and another in Shenfield and eventually they’ll end up in Hale End itself on a yearly basis, so the whole package is there.

“We took a long time negotiating the deal and it is about nurturing young talent and coaching them the Arsenal way, so that’s what the whole programme is about.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are five, six, seven or eight-years-old, we want to see you because that’s where we want to start.”

To secure your place on coaching sessions at Barking FC – providing opportunities to be selected for Arsenal’s pre-academy – contact Academy Director Mick O’Shea on 07762 636015 (places limited).

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