Archie Shepherd, 4, Hailed as ‘Mini Messi,’ Chased by Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea

Chelsea FC youthArchie Shepherd could be soccer’s next big thing, but we won’t find out before 2025 or so.

Shepherd is only four years old, but his soccer skills have at least three Premier League teams vying for his services. West Ham, Arsenal and Chelsea are helping to develop the talent of the kid locals are calling “Mini [Lionel] Messi.” The Premier League trio hope that he might join one of their youth academies on a full-time basis, according to the Mail.

Shepherd is from Grays, England (20 miles east of London), but reports of his exploits have already hit the capital city. He practices twice each week with West Ham’s U-6 academy team, once a week with Arsenal and spent part of last summer with Chelsea’s Summer School.

His father, Pat Shepherd, says young Archie eats, sleeps and breathes the game.

“He has played club football since he was three but even when he was a baby he didn’t want toys, he just wanted a football,” the elder Shepherd said. “He doesn’t stop playing and he doesn’t care if kids are bigger than him — he shows no fear.

“There are a lot of clubs monitoring him and just waiting for him to get a bit older really. He is a normal height for a four-year-old but his natural skills and footwork are way above average for his age.

“He is just football obsessed – I don’t know where he gets it from.”

There is no way to tell how far Shepherd will go in the game. For now, he’ll join Charlie Jackson and other prodigies who we allow to just be kids and enjoy the game for what it is — a game.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

Photo via Twitter/shannonmctague

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