Part II: Arsenal and Switzerland’s ‘Golden Generation’ – Martin Angha

Part II: Arsenal and Switzerland’s ‘Golden Generation’ – Martin Angha

The three-part series focusing on the trio of Swiss prospects at the club continues with a look at skillful centre back Martin Angha…

Martin Angha-Lötscher

Date of Birth: 22/01/1994
Height: 185cm (6’2)
Former Club: FC Zurich
Position: Centre Back, Right Back

Martin Angha is arguably the brightest of the three Swiss talents at the Arsenal Academy, and the tall central defender who combines poise on the ball with strength off it is very quickly making his way up the footballing ladder at London Colney. In playing style he describes himself as being a mixture of Cristiano Ronaldo (the technique), John Terry (the organisation) and Rio Ferdinand (the temperament). “They’re are all world stars, which I still can not really compare [myself to]! But it is good to aim high…”

Martin Angha’s association with the Gunners began, oddly enough, with a cup game against an Arsenal youth team in 2008, when the young centre back was just 14 years old. It was a semi-final in Wil in Switzerland and by its conclusion there was only one name the watching scouts were after, Angha having starred throughout before winning the game for his side with a stunning free kick.

Fast forward three weeks and Angha was on a flight to England for a trial with the Gunners. It took just one day of training with Steve Bould’s Under 18s for them to know they had a gem on their hands.

“I trained with the Under 18s there immediately,” he recalls. “On the first day the coach said that they would like to keep me.

A transfer within Switzerland was never in question, but a switch to my dream club Arsenal – that is something else.

I like it anywhere where you can play football, but if you’ve got the opportunity to develop at one of the world’s best clubs, at a team like Arsenal which has such a prominent reputation in youth coaching, then of course that’s a dream come true for any young player.”

Always modest and often full of enthusiasm, Angha has admitted he was more than a little nervous ahead of his trial at Arsenal.

“I played and trained with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Kyle Bartley who are giants now, and were giants then, and a couple of years older than me! I did wonder whether I would be able to do enough to impress on my trial.

Everyone helped me settle in and I was asked to join, which was fantastic news.”

Compensation with FC Zurich was agreed and in January this year he travelled to England again, this time with a permanent stay in mind.

His first few weeks at the club didn’t go as he had hoped though, damaging knee ligaments in his debut appearance for the U16s against Portsmouth. But he soon bounced back and remarkably found himself picked by reserve coach Neil Banfield on a handful of occasions before the season was out. Now with a full pre-season under his belt, the hugely talented teenager will look to become a key figure for Steve Bould’s Under 18 side as well as continue to make progress in the reserves in the coming season.

And one thing is for sure, there is no place the 16 year old would rather be than the boyhood club he finds himself at. With that in mind, offers from Chelsea and Manchester United were never going to tempt the Swiss youth international away from signing for the Gunners.

“It has always been a dream for me to play for Arsenal and so signing for the Gunners is the first step to realising it.

I used to play as a striker when I was younger and Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp were my favourite players and Patrick Vieira was another I really looked up to, so Arsenal became my team.

It was flattering that other teams wanted me to join them, but Arsenal was really my only choice.”

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