Arsenal and Barking have entered a partnership that will help hopefully help find the next Alex Iwobi.
Barking, an east London club playing in the Bostik North league, are seeking to give talented young players a route into the professional game.
The new player development partnership deal they’ve signed with Arsenal is designed to do exactly that.
Alex Iwobi, now a Nigeria international and regular in the Arsenal first team after graduating from their academy, was spotted playing for Campion School in Barking at just eight years of age.
His story is inspirational for many, and Barking academy director Mark O’Shea is hoping to find the next talented to player from the Barking area.
“We want to find the next Lamar and Alex Iwobi because he came from Campion School, which is only down the road,” O’Shea said.
“We need to find more of these players from this area of east London and provide them with the opportunities to succeed.
“I’ve had regular contact with people from Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and QPR about our lads and one is with Brighton at the moment, so it shows we are building a reputation and we are well respected for our youth work.”
O’Shea’s most recent success story is Lamar Reynolds, whom he helped move from non-league football to League Two side Newport County.
Arsenal chose Barking due to their philosophy. Scout Martin Taylor praised them for being one of the most forward thinking clubs in east London.
Such praise has gone down very well with O’Shea.
“One of the reasons they chose us over other east London clubs is because they said Barking are one of the most forward thinking clubs in east London,” he said.
“Arsenal’s head scout Martin Taylor said that, which is obviously great to hear and shows we are doing things right.”
We hope to see many more Alex Iwobis head Arsenal’s way in the future.