World Cup winners Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Timothy ‘TJ’ Eyoma can inspire Islington youth
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Tottenham Hotspur duo went to Canonbury Primary School and City of London Academy Highbury Grove and should give local children more belief
You wouldn’t normally state that two Tottenham Hotspur players could inspire the next generation of kids growing up in notorious Arsenal territory Islington, but that’s what Scott Chickelday is suggesting and he is right to do so.
The two footballers in question are Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Timothy ‘TJ’ Eyoma, who returned to England on Monday as under-17 World Cup winners following success out in India over the past month.
Both players are contracted to Spurs, but are from the Borough of Islington and attended Canonbury Primary School before going to City of London Academy Highbury Grove.
Now they are world champions and their old PE Teacher believes their feats over the last few weeks should spur others onto success.
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“I work with a lot of grassroots teams in Islington and the district side and I just want our local kids to see this achievement and think ‘it could be me’ and this should give them all belief,” said Chickelday, who was Oakley-Boothe and Eyoma’s PE Teacher at Canonbury.
“I know not everyone is going to make it and do what Tashan and ‘TJ’ have done with England, but it can inspire our youngsters.
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“Hopefully it shows that Islington is not all bad and that you can make something of yourself as long as you work hard and stay focused just like those two boys did.”
Chickelday always knew their was something special about the pair with Oakley-Boothe making his debut for the Canonbury Year Six football team when he was only in Year Three.
The duo helped their primary school win numerous competitions and both were taken to Tottenham by their PE Teacher, who was also an academy scout and coach at Spurs.
It made Saturday’s final a proud moment for Chickelday with Oakley-Boothe playing a key role in helping England come from two goals down to beat Spain 5-2.
Former Islington district player Eyoma had earlier played his part by starting two of the Young Lions group games and also coming on in the semi-final success over Brazil.
“It was emotional for me to watch it on Saturday and see them celebrating because I have known them for so long,” said Chickelday.
“Even when they were young, I would always say to people these two boys are special and there was just something different about them compared to the rest.
“I wanted to really push them both because I’ve seen so many young kids come and go, but they had something that the others didn’t.
“The way they were, I wanted to take them under my wing because I knew they could really go on and achieve something and it is nice to know I’ve played a part in their success alongside plenty of others too.
“I always knew they could get there in the end and just look at what they’re doing - it is great, but they were always so focused and determined and they deserved this.”
For Chickelday, a lot of the foundation for Oakley-Boothe and Eyoma’s success was laid down at Canonbury where the school had some strict rules in place.
Their old PE Teacher added: “Even when they were both young, they had so much hunger for the game and were well behaved in school.
“In Canonbury, if you were in trouble you wouldn’t be able to play in outside school activities like playing for the football team, so they both made sure they stayed out of anything like that.
“You could tell even then at such an early age they were both special and what also helped was having such strong families behind them. It’s all played a part.”