Whatever happened to #11… Steer, Birchall, Kuffour, Aliadiere, Watt


RENE STEER

Signed scholarship: Summer 2006. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent careeer: Oldham Athletic, Staines Town, St Neots Town, Woking, Boston United.

A left-back who has endured his fair share of ups and downs during his career so far, Steer recently became an internet sensation after a video of his stunning goal for St Neots Town against Canvey Island in the FA Cup attracted almost 500,000 views. The rest of his career has been rather unglamorous, however, as, after failing to make the grade at Arsenal, he has subsequently dropped into non-league football, via a frustrating spell at Oldham Athletic. Having joined Oldham following his release from Arsenal in 2009, Steer suffered serious damage to his teeth after receiving an elbow to the face during one his early appearances for the club. Having left St Neots Town last month, he signed for Boston United in the Skrill North.

ADAM BIRCHALL

Signed scholarship: Summer 2001. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Mansfield Town, Barnet (loan), Barnet, Dover Athletic, Gillingham, Dartford (loan), Dartford (loan).

Now 28, former Wales U21 international striker Birchall has endured a rather chequered career since being released by Arsenal in the summer of 2005. He initially spent two years with Mansfield Town, but his performances were rather underwhelming as he registered just two league goals in 36 appearances. It was at Barnet where he really began to establish himself, with Birchall a regular in the side at Underhill, frequently featuring against Arsenal in pre-season friendlies, before he was let go following a disappointing 2008/09 season. He is now with Gillingham, but has been unable to cement himself as a regular for the League One side, instead being loaned out to non-league Dartford in each of the past two seasons.

JO KUFFOUR

Signed scholarship: 1998. Arsenal apps: 0. Subsequent career: Torquay United, Brentford, Bournemouth, Bristol Rovers, Gillingham (loan), Gillingham, Wycombe Wanderers.

Part of the Arsenal side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2000, Kuffour’s subsequent career provides evidence that the club’s Academy can produce players capable of performing within England’s top four leagues. Now 31, the fast striker has been a regular source of goals for various lower league clubs, particularly shining at Bristol Rovers, where he stayed for four years. He has struggled to find the net with as much regularity since joining Wycombe Wanderers in 2012, but has still managed to carve out a career at a relatively high level.

JEREMIE ALIADIERE

Signed scholarship: Summer 1999. Arsenal apps: 51 (9 goals). Subsequent career: Middlesbrough, Lorient.

The former France U21 striker is currently enjoying a new lease of life with French side Lorient, having scored 19 goals in 34 appearances during an impressive 2012/13 season. A frequent goalscorer as a youth team player at Arsenal having emerged from the famed Clairefontaine Academy, Aliadiere scored his first Arsenal goal in the league victory over West Bromwich Albion, but most of his appearances were limited to cup competitions, whilst he also suffered from a multitude of injuries that halted his progress. The 2005/06 season saw him loaned out three times without any great success, and, after a fleeting return to the club, he eventually departed for Middlesbrough in 2007. He started well for his new club, but injuries again impacted on him and he now finds himself back in his native France having temporarily returned to Arsenal to boost his fitness in 2011.

SANCHEZ WATT

Signed scholarship: Summer 2007. Arsenal apps: 3 (1 goal). Subsequent career: Colchester United.

A player considered so talented during his youth-team days that Barcelona reportedly tried to sign him when he was just 13, Watt ultimately failed to impose himself during a multitude of loan spells. A major part of the all-conquering Arsenal U18 side of 2008/09, he scored on his first-team debut against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup the following season, but there followed a plethora of temporary transfers, including two spells at Leeds United. A regular scorer at youth level, Watt has struggled to find the net with as much regularity in senior football, but still remains a threat to opposition defences with his trickery. He eventually ended his long association with Arsenal when he was released this summer, and is now with Colchester United, but is currently out injured.

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