ARSENAL secured the services of club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day but the striker’s full UK debut came back in 2012.
The 28-year-old strangely appeared for Gabon against Northern League side Heaton Stannington, on a pitch backing onto a Chinese takeaway in Newcastle.
Aubameyang first appeared on our shores in 2010 when Liverpool beat Lille 3-0 in the UEFA Cup, and the youngster came on as a substitute at Anfield.
His full English debut though, took place at the home of Heaton Stannington, Grounsell Park – in a warm up game for Gabon who were set to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The young star was plying his trade at French side St.Etienne, and made his £10million move to Borussia Dortmund just a year later.
Newcastle were initially primed as Gabon’s opponents, but they were away on pre-season duty, so Stannington stepped up to the mark.
Heaton Stannington’s assistant manager, Geoff Walker told football.london: “It was June, it was close season for us, so we weren’t training at all. We weren’t due back for pre-season for a good few weeks and some of the lads had plans for the Sunday already – so it was a bit of a scratch side. But it was a great occasion.”
I don’t think they [the players] were expecting to go up against an international side when they clocked off work on the Friday.”
In a strange turn of events, Aubameyang left his boots at the hotel, so Mr Walker had to drive the wonderkid back.
He said: “Ten minutes after they arrived he realised he’d left his boots at the hotel, so I jumped in the car – he was in the back with one of their coaches and one of their security guys was in the front.
“They were at the Hilton, so there I was driving with him in the back thinking ‘Don’t let anyone come into the back of me here’. He said hello but he was quite a shy lad.”
The Gabonese striker could make his official debut for Arsenal this weekend, when they host Everton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
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