Arsenal fan and academy product Nathan Tella talks about his journey, role models Thierry Henry and Theo Walcott, and overcoming challenges.
- Arsenal academy product Nathan Tella cites Thierry Henry and Theo Walcott as his role models and inspirations.
- ‘Embarrassed’ when he was released by Arsenal without a professional contract, Tella persevered and found success with Southampton and Burnley.
- Tella’s journey highlights the challenges young players face and the importance of resilience in the world of professional football.
From the time Nathan Tella stepped onto the hallowed grounds of Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, he had big dreams.
As a dedicated Arsenal fan, Tella had always looked up to Gunners legends Thierry Henry and Theo Walcott as his role models. The young winger would spend hours trying to emulate their skills on the pitch, with varying degrees of success.
Little did he know that his journey would take him away from the club he adored, with stints at Southampton and Burnley, as he fought to make a name for himself in professional football.
In a recent interview with Football Daily, Tella opened up about his admiration for Henry and Walcott, and how their careers inspired him.
“I’ve always been an Arsenal fan and at that time I’d look at Thierry Henry and say he was my biggest inspiration in football,” Tella said.
“He’s someone I tried to model my game after. Of course, at seven years old you can’t really say you play like someone, but the stuff he was doing in games I would try to do with my local team.”
Over the years, Tella worked tirelessly in Arsenal’s academy, honing his skills and earning a reputation as a promising talent.
However, fate had other plans for him. In 2017, after a decade at the club, he was released without a professional contract. The experience was a tough one for Tella, who admitted to feeling embarrassed about having to break the news to his friends and family.
“I couldn’t believe it, Arsenal was all I knew from the age of 6 when I got scouted,” Tella told Vavel.
“For me, it was a bit of an embarrassment because I didn’t know how I was going to tell all my friends and family that I was leaving Arsenal.”
Undeterred, Tella embarked on trials at Reading, Norwich, and finally Southampton, where he found a new home. He made his senior debut for the Saints in 2020, coming on as a substitute in their 3-0 Premier League victory over Norwich City.
Now on loan at Burnley, Tella has played a pivotal role in their promotion back to the Premier League, netting 17 goals and providing five assists in the Championship.
His success is a testament to his determination and the influence of his Arsenal role models.
Tella’s journey is a reminder of the challenges faced by many young players striving to make it in the world of professional football.
Some manage to work their way back up the ranks, while others aren’t so fortunate.
Tella’s story is one of resilience and inspiration, showing that with hard work and dedication, dreams can come true.
Nathan Tella stats
Throughout his career, Nathan Tella has demonstrated remarkable potential and performance, as evidenced by his statistics across different clubs.
At the very beginning of his career, he played for Arsenal FC U18, where he participated in 9 games, scored 1 goal, and made 1 assist. He spent a total of 538 minutes on the pitch during his time with the team.
Tella then moved on to Southampton FC U18 and Reading FC U18, where he participated in 2 and 1 games respectively, spending 155 and 68 minutes on the pitch. Although his time with these clubs was brief, it contributed to his overall development as a player.
His journey then took him to Norwich City U18, where he made a single appearance but made the most of it by scoring a goal during his 71 minutes on the pitch.
Tella then had a significant stint with Southampton FC, where he appeared in 41 games, scored 2 goals, and made 5 assists. His total playtime with the club was 1934 minutes.
However, Tella’s most noteworthy performances came with Burnley FC.
At Burnley FC, he has made 45 appearances so far, scored a remarkable 19 goals, with 5 assists, with a total playtime of 2842 minutes.
In total, Tella has made 145 appearances, scored 35 goals, made 18 assists, and spent 8256 minutes on the pitch. His stats clearly illustrate a footballer who has consistently grown and improved throughout his career.