10 sons following in their fathers’ footsteps: Van Persie, Reyna, Poch

Quick Reads

There’s nothing like the emergence of the son of a footballer you watched as a youngster to remind you of the depressing and inexorable march of time.

Those who grew up watching the 1994 World Cup will remember the shudder they felt when Bebeto’s son Mattheus, the baby of his goal celebration, made his professional debut back in 2012.

Those who are a little younger will have had similar emotions when watching Ianis Hagi or Marcus Thuram for the first time, but now we’ve got a whole new group of players close to following in their famous fathers’ footsteps.

Shaqueel van Persie

Still just 13, the son of Robin van Persie caught the eye this month with a superb flying volley his father would have been proud of in his Arsenal and Manchester United pomp.

Shaqueel was playing for Feyenoord’s Under-15 side, the club where his dad started and ended his career.

Liam Delap

Born as disgustingly recently as 2003, the son of Stoke legend Rory Delap recently made his first-team debut for Manchester City.

While it seems surprising that Pep Guardiola would be drawn towards a 6ft target man, Delap showed composure in front of goal to net in a League Cup victory over Bournemouth.

Evidence suggests that City have a real asset on their hands, although we need to see what his long throws are like first.

READ: Can he take long throws? Everything you need to know about Liam Delap

Giovanni Reyna

Born in Sunderland during the chart reign of ‘Heaven’ by DJ Sammy in 2002, Reyna looks set to follow in his dad’s illustrious footsteps.

Father Claudio, who played for Sunderland and Manchester City, is remembered as a football legend in America after captaining the national team at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

His son currently plays for Europe’s elite creche Borussia Dortmund and the attacking midfielder has already declared his allegiance to the Stars and Stripes.

A promising future surely awaits.

Isaac Drogba

Didier Drogba needs no introduction. The Chelsea icon rampaged through Premier League defences for over a decade and left an indelible mark on English football.

Therefore, it should be no surprise his son has started to follow his lead. The 19-year-old forward joined his father’s former club Guingamp, where he is currently developing in the reserves.

Tyrese Campbell

The young striker had a quietly impressive year with Stoke City during the 2019-20 season, scoring nine goals in 33 league appearances.

When you discover his father is none other than ex-Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell then the inherited eye for goal becomes somewhat self-explanatory.

READ: Kevin Campbell: Arsenal were special, but I fell in love with Everton

Josh Ireland

Only 16 years of age, the son of former Manchester City, Aston Villa and Stoke midfielder Stephen Ireland is a member of Stoke’s Under-18 academy.

The midfielder made six appearances and scored one goal for the club in the Under-18 Premier League last season and was reported to have been offered a trial with Borussia Dortmund in September 2020.

Harvey Neville

The child of Phil Neville, young Harvey recently signed his first professional contract with his dad’s old club Manchester United – incredibly fitting, considering he looks like the archetypal Mancunian teenager.

Having been included in the Republic of Ireland Under-19 squad last year, the defender looks to have the world at his feet. Not bad for someone born during the *quietly sobs* 2002 World Cup.

Thomas Robert

Thomas Robert, the son of ex-Newcastle United winger Laurent, turned down several top European clubs to join Scottish minnows Airdrieonians from Montpellier this summer.

Having been on the radar of top-flight clubs in England, France and Germany, Robert opted to join a club formed two years after his birth in 2001.

Neutrals will be hoping the young forward inherits the following qualities from his father: a left foot so educated it has a PhD from Cambridge, a hair-trigger temperament and the inclination to whack the ball into the goal from miles out.

READ: A tribute to Laurent Robert, scorer of Newcastle’s most inexplicable goals

Shae Cahill

Tim Cahill spent his time at Everton bulleting headers into the net, picking up yellow cards and scrapping with the corner flag – seemingly on loop.

It doesn’t feel that long ago since the Australian graced the field at Goodison Park, but we were bowled over to discover his 15-year-old son Shae joined the Everton academy in November 2019.

In an emotional post on Instagram, dad Tim commented: “It’s a very proud moment for me as a father.

“The biggest thing for me retiring was for my children first of all, and my son Shae is fortunate enough to be part of the Everton academy. For me as a father, it’s more about me helping him follow his dreams; he’ll understand the pitfalls, and the dedication and sacrifice he needs to put in, but lo and behold it’s a great platform for him as a young man.”


Maurizio Pochettino

The son of the former beloved Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino looked set to leave Tottenham after his dad’s departure in November 2019.

However, the 19-year-old winger signed a new deal this summer to remain in north London. While it surprised us to discover Maurizio was not a rugged defender chopping down England forwards during crucial World Cup matches like his father, it is pleasing to see a man follow his own footsteps and refuse to be pinned down by the success of their parent.

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