Arsenal signing wins praise from former coach at St Albans school

08:10 04 February 2016

Arsenal

Arsenal'sTolaji Bola in action at St Albans School, before signing a new contract with the club

Photo supplied

Arsenal’s recent signing of a St Albans schoolboy has not surprised his former coach who reckons his “amazing speed and footwork” will take the teenager far.

Tolaji Bola signs a new contract for Arsenal. Picture: Arsenal Football Club/David PriceTolaji Bola signs a new contract for Arsenal. Picture: Arsenal Football Club/David Price

Tolaji Bola may have just signed his first professional contract with Arsenal but he has maintained strong links with St Albans School at Abbey Gateway.

According to the club, which has training grounds in London Colney, the 17-year-old defender has impressed with his composure and tough tackling while playing for the Gunners’ under-18s over the past two seasons.

David Forbes-Whitehead, who has coached him at St Albans School at various stages, said: “From an early age, Tolaji’s football skills were evident, and we knew he brought something special to the sport.

“Tolaji had a strong physical ability from the time he joined St Albans School at 11, and it was during one of his first matches for the school that his talent stood out, when he managed to score the winning goal during extra time, displaying amazing speed and footwork.

“Despite his ability and passion for football, Tolaji did not neglect his schoolwork, and always demonstrated a fantastic attitude.”

David said that Tolaji was strong in whatever sport he took part in at school - particularly football - but also athletics and rugby.

He was the Herts district 100m sprint champion for two years running, from the ages of 12-14.

But his physical side showed through in football, and he “stood out as a player as he has an ability to read the game, and knew where he needed to be”.

David said Tolaji’s strengths were his perseverance and determination, adding, “He is very much a team player. Tolaji has an ethos of ‘it isn’t about you, you are only as good as the other members of your team’ - it is a positive ethos.

“He has an ability to lead – Tolaji is a very level-headed, grounded young man.”

Tolaji impressed the school because despite his commitments to Arsenal – he has been with the club since he was an under-nine - he still took part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

He managed both of his expeditions, finishing skill and physical sections as part of his silver DofE, thus almost completing his silver and was just short of getting this award.

David added: “Everyone is really pleased for him, to be offered a professional contract, as so many don’t make the grade, so it is a credit to him, and it is all down to Arsenal [training him].”

The teen, who was also a member of the cadet force, has maintained strong links with St Albans School and is doing his A-level practical PE there.

He was first spotted by Arsenal scouts while playing for his Sunday side Parkfield in Harrow, at a tournament.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Herts Advertiser visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Herts Advertiser staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Herts Advertiser account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

15:00
13 different schools took part in the celebratory performance to highlight the importance of dance in education

Schools have joined together to celebrate dance with an evening of performances.

Nicky B celebrates

In less than three years, a St Albans secondary school has gone from being in special measures to being graded as good by Ofsted.

A student from Oaklands College Riding for the Disabled

The closure of a local Riding for the Disabled facility has shocked families because it had proved invaluable for those who used it and their carers.

Yesterday, 19:30
Herts Advertiser July 20 2006

Ten years ago, before she became an X Factor judge, the then Cheryl Tweedy made the front page of the Herts Advertiser when it was revealed that Sopwell House had hosted the “real wedding” of the pop star to footballer Ashley Cole.

St Albans Sinkhole News

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Nearly there: Over 500 cubic metres of foamed concrete have now been poured into the sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans. Photo courtesy of Ringway

A series of possible remedial measures are now being considered by the county council to finish capping the 12-metre wide sinkhole in St Albans and fix the damaged road.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards