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Mick O’Shea: Bostik North club Barking can help Premier League giants Arsenal find the next Alex Iwobi

PUBLISHED: 10:30 03 November 2017

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who scored against Brighton recently, joined the club aged eight after being spotted while living in east London (pic John Walton/PA)

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, who scored against Brighton recently, joined the club aged eight after being spotted while living in east London (pic John Walton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

The Blues will look to provide a regular pathway for talented, local footballers to get into the professional game

Barking chairman Rob O'Brien (left) and Academy Director Mick O'Shea at Arsenal's Hale End academy (pic: Barking FC). Barking chairman Rob O'Brien (left) and Academy Director Mick O'Shea at Arsenal's Hale End academy (pic: Barking FC).

Barking Academy Director Mick O’Shea is hoping to find the next Alex Iwobi after agreeing a player development partnership deal with Premier League giants Arsenal this week.

The Bostik North club confirmed the news on Tuesday after travelling to the Gunners Hale End academy base.

Iwobi, a former Campion School pupil, joined Arsenal aged eight having been spotted playing football in east London.

O’Shea, having played a part in helping Lamar Reynolds move from non-league to League Two outfit Newport County, is now looking to open up a more regular pathway for talented, local footballers seeking to get into the professional game.

He said: “We want to find the next Lamar and Alex Iwobi because he came from Campion School, which is only down the road.

“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.”

Barking chairman Rob O’Brien and O’Shea were both enthused to receive praise from Arsenal scout Martin Taylor as well.

And after spending plenty of time improving their facilities and focusing on their academy in recent years, the Mayesbrook Park club are beginning to reap the rewards.

“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,” said O’Shea.

“Arsenal’s head scout Martin Taylor said that, which is obviously great to hear and shows we are doing things right.”

The Blues will now hope to play a role in giving local youngsters from east London an opportunity at a professional club.

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