Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue has revealed that his 10-year-old son decided to join Arsenal over London rivals Chelsea – and the youngster has already been likened to Gunners legend Gilberto Silva by manager Arsene Wenger.
Manchester United star Ashley Young, Arsenal legend Robert Pires and current midfield maestro Santi Cazorla all have their sons enrolled in Arsenal’s Hale End academy and Eboue has spoken for the first time about the tough decision his son Mathis had when deciding which London-based team he wanted to play for.
Eboue, 34, formerly of Arsenal and Galatasaray, is currently looking for a new club and says that Wenger has already talked up his son by likening the midfielder’s playing style to the Brazilian once known as 'The Invisible Wall', Gilberto Silva.
"[Mathis] plays for Arsenal, I think he signed last year. I’m happy, happy to see him play and enjoy football," Eboue told Goal.
"And also because he likes Arsenal. Because he had two choices, Chelsea and Arsenal. I didn’t tell him anything, I said: 'Mathis it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter where, I want you to be happy'. And he said to me: 'Daddy I want to play for Arsenal. I like Arsenal and you used to play here too, the people they love you, so I want to play here'."
"I said, 'okay no problem'. So he's there now, he is happy. And I wish him the best. Firstly it’s about education and school, then, after, football. But he’s happy, really happy.
"I haven’t spoken to him [Wenger] about my son, but he knows. He knows about Mathis. I heard that he said to the academy manager, talking about Mathis, that the way he plays is like Gilberto Silva. So I’m happy, very happy.
“The first thing after he signed for Arsenal, all the younger players went to eat in front of Wenger. And he was so happy when he came back home, to have seen him. So as I’ve said, I wish him the best.
“This boy, he said: 'Daddy you will see, I'll be better than you'. And I told him that I wish that. I hope that he will be better than me. But I’m very happy when I watch him play. He’s a fighter and he is very fast also. So I’m happy to see him play and I think he is also very happy to be playing [too]."