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Two Arsenal wonderkids who were as good as Bukayo Saka in academy now have very different football careers

Two Arsenal wonderkids who were as good as Bukayo Saka in academy now have very different football careers

The England star has not looked back since his 2018 Gunners debut, but Josh Martin and Ben Cottrell have not quite had the same careers

Bukayo Saka has cemented himself as one of the key players for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta as the North London club set their sights on challenging for the Premier League title.

The 22-year-old is the top scorer at the Emirates Stadium club so far this campaign, with 15 goals in all competitions.

Saka made his Gunners debut back in 2018 and had not looked back since, with his goalscoring statistics improving in every season he has completed.

His form has also led to him becoming a regular member of Gareth Southgate's England set-up, picking up 32 caps for the Three Lions and scoring 11 goals.

The Gunners sit third in the Premier League table as things stand, five points behind top flight leaders Liverpool, but with a game in hand on Jurgen Klopp's team.

Arsenal will be aiming to stay with the pace of the leaders when they host Newcastle United at the Emirates this evening, where Saka will be aiming to add to his goal tally.

Saka came through the academy at the Gunners and has been with the North London club since the age of just seven.

As with any youth team at a club, there will be those that potentially make it to the highest level, and those which do not.

Bukayo Saka has become a key player for Arsenal. (

And it seems there were two wonderkids who were just as good as Saka in the Arsenal youth set-up, but have gone on to have very different football careers than the Three Lions star.

The Athletic has spoken to several players who came through the ranks at the Gunners with Saka, and Bertie Valler, who joined Arsenal at under-nine level and is now with Phoenix Sports, has revealed two team-mates who appear to have been just as impressive as Saka.

These are Ben Cottrell and Josh Martin - but their careers have gone in a very different way to Saka's, with Cottrell now at Slovenian team FC Mura and Martin with League One outfit Portsmouth, as Valler explained the determination that Saka had to make it to the top even at a very young age.

Valler said: "He (Saka) was always up there with the better players, but he was naturally so quick and powerful.

"Ben Cottrell was always a standout as he was a step ahead of everyone ‘upstairs’ and Josh Martin was technically outrageous. In terms of pure ability, I’ve never seen anything like it.

"But at eight or nine, Bukayo was doing 80 press-ups a day. Even at that age, he was so determined."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Arsenal, Bukayo Saka