Stevenage manager Darren Sarll said he spent a week with the Arsenal academy, but had to leave because Steve Sidwell and Rohan Ricketts wouldn’t let him have the ball.
Earlier this year, Sarll took Arsenal academy product Kaylen Hinds on loan for a few months, before Hinds got a permanent move to Wolfsburg in the summer. But long before that, Darren was part of the Gunners’ academy himself, as he told the Islington Gazette.
“I was only there a week,” he explained. “Do you know why it was only a week? Because Steve Sidwell and Rohan Ricketts never let me touch the ball for five days.”
Unfortunately for Sarll, that tactic worked out a lot better for the pair that remained with the Gunners.
Steve Sidwell, currently at Brighton, has played for a number of Premier League teams, including Chelsea, Fulham, and Stoke City.
Rohan Ricketts made the move across North London to Tottenham, although after dropping to England’s second tier with a permanent move to Wolverhampton Wanderers, he never returned to the big time in England.
Meanwhile, Darren ended up playing non-league football for a few years, then Sunday league, before starting his coaching career with Stevenage. First with the youth sides, and now with the first team, Sarll has come a long way, considering he’s still just 34 years old.
Perhaps if Sidwell and Ricketts had given him a chance, things would’ve turned out differently, but as a young player nowadays you generally have to create your own opportunities, and this seems like just another example of that.