Where are they now? The Arsenal-Liverpool teams from the 2009 FA Youth Cup Final



The anticipation is building ahead of Friday’s FA Youth Cup encounter between Arsenal and Liverpool.

The sides will do battle at Emirates Stadium at the Quarter-Final stage of the competition, and this will be the first meeting between the two clubs in the Youth Cup since the 2009 Final, when Arsenal ran out comfortable victors.

Here’s a look at how the players from the starting line-ups for both sides from the first leg of that fixture have fared in the ensuing period.


James Shea– Shea progressed through the ranks at Arsenal and was named on the bench for the first-team, but was released in 2013. After spending time in non-league football, he joined AFC Wimbledon, for whom he has featured prominently over the past couple of seasons.

Craig Eastmond– Eastmond featured prominently for the Arsenal first-team and even played in the Champions League, but he has endured a fall from grace since then. After previously representing Colchester United and Yeovil Town he now plays for Sutton United.

Thomas Cruise– Born in Islington, Cruise played against Olympiacos in the Champions League but was far short of the required standard for Arsenal. He has been without a club since being released by Torquay United at the end of last season.

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Kyle Bartley– Bartley was temporarily promoted to the first-team squad at Arsenal but left for Swansea City permanently just days later. He is still with the Welsh side, and has played for them in the Premier League, but is seen as a back-up player.

Emmanuel Frimpong– There was a considerable amount of hype surrounding Frimpong when he was progressing through the ranks at Arsenal, but the powerful midfielder has fallen by the wayside and now plays for Russian side Ufa. He did, though, make six Premier League appearances for the Gunners.

Luke Ayling– A hero in Arsenal’s Youth Cup success, Ayling didn’t make a competitive appearance for the first-team and joined Yeovil Town in 2010. He now plays for Bristol City in the Championship.

Henri Lansbury– Were it not for injuries, Lansbury would surely have featured more prominently for the Arsenal first-team. He has done well since, though, and is currently captain of Nottingham Forest. The midfielder will hope that he can still make the step up to the Premier League at some point.

Francis Coquelin– Against the odds, Coquelin is still at Arsenal. The Frenchman appeared set to leave but he seized his chance last season and is currently installed as the club’s first-choice defensive-midfielder, whilst he has made over 50 Premier League appearances.

Gilles Sunu– After a slow start, Sunu started to thrive for Arsenal at youth level, but he is now back in his native France with Angers, having previously spent time with Lorient and Evian.

Jack Wilshere– Wilshere had already played for the Arsenal first-team by the time of the 2009 Final and is the most decorated player from either side, having featured for England at the 2014 World Cup. The hope now will be that he can get over his injury worries and fulfil his vast potential with the Gunners.

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Jay Emmanuel-Thomas– The captain of Arsenal’s Youth Cup-winning side, Emmanuel-Thomas didn’t get much of a look in with regards to first-team football with the Gunners, and after struggling to settle at Ipswich Town and Bristol City, is now with Queens Park Rangers. He is currently on loan at MK Dons.


Dean Bouzanis– The Australian goalkeeper left Liverpool without having made a first-team appearance and is now back in his homeland with Melbourne City.

Karl Clair– The right-back has fallen out of the professional game, and, after joining the Nike academy, had a spell with Vauxhall Motors.

Christopher Buchtmann– One of the stars of the U17 European Championships in 2009, Buchtmann soon moved on to Fulham’s academy. He now plays for FC St. Pauli.

Daniel Ayala– The centre-back made five Premier League appearances for Liverpool and also featured in the top flight for Norwich City. He now plays for Championship side Middlesbrough.

Joe Kennedy– Kennedy was captain against Arsenal, but his current whereabouts are unknown. He had spell with Welsh side Bala Town.

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Andre Wisdom– Wisdom is still on Liverpool’s books, and has made 14 Premier League appearances. He is currently on loan at Norwich City following similar spells with Derby County and West Bromwich Albion.

David Amoo– Amoo was loaned out by Liverpool on several occasions and now represents Partick Thistle, having previously played for Preston North End, Tranmere Rovers and Carlisle United.

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Steven Irwin– Another who no longer plays professional football, Irwin didn’t play for Liverpool’s first-team and went on to represent Telstar and Finnish side FF Jaro.

Laurie Della Valle– A highly regarded forward at the time of the 2009 Final, Della Valle moved on to Fulham and, after several stints elsewhere, is now back in England with Crewe Alexandra.

Tom Ince– The son of Paul, Ince moved onto Blackpool after leaving Liverpool and now plays for Derby County, having previously turned down the chance to join Inter Milan.

Alexander Kacaniklic– A scorer against Arsenal in the Final, Kacaniklic now plays for Fulham, although he has had several spells away from the club on loan.





  1. Also involved over the two legs….

    Sanchez Watt – playing in India last I saw.
    Rhys Murphy – was at Daggers, scored a few when fit, but always injured. Forget where he is now, Crawley or Stevenage?
    Oguzhan Ozyakup – starring at Besiktas and should be featured in Euro 16 for Turkey.
    Cedric Evina – regular at Doncaster.
    Conor Henderson – Crawley?
    Charlie Mann – no idea.

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