WHEN Dean Shiels assessed the range of world-class players ahead of him at Arsenal he realised it was time for a fresh start. Now he’s hoping to put his first-class education to good use with Hibernian.
The highly-rated 19-year-old was on the fringes of the first-team at Highbury and decided it was time to call an end to three years in North London, despite having a year left on his contract. Hibs manager Tony Mowbray moved quickly to sign Shiels on a three-year deal and that looked a good piece of business when the teenager lifted the Golden Boot in the Milk Cup recently following five goals in three games for the Northern Ireland Under-19 side, including a double in a 2-1 win over Brazil.
With a midweek strike in the 3-1 East of Scotland Shield win over Hearts further endearing him to the Easter Road support, he said: "I had been at Arsenal for three years but we decided by mutual consent that it was time for me to move on. There wasn’t really any direction that I could see my career going at Arsenal.
"There were world-class players there ahead of me and being realistic I was never going to get in there. There was Thierry Henry and Robert Pires and people like that ahead of me - they’re not bad are they?
"It was a great club. I was there for three years and they won two titles when I was there. It was a very successful club and they are always in the spotlight and it was hard to leave because I had made so many friends there.
"Ray Parlour was one of my closest friends at the club. You can only learn from people like that. Hopefully I can take that on and do well for Hibs. I’m still young yet, but hopefully under the manager’s guidance I’ll maybe get into the first team and become a regular."