Bukayo Saka’s former PE teacher has to prove to his new students that the young England star attended their school in Ealing.
Mark Harvey, 41, a PE teacher at Greenford High School, said many younger students don’t believe he started there.
Harvey often takes out his cell phone to show seventh and eighth grade students that the Arsenal player attended their school, he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“To them, they’re so detached from the fact that a Greenford High School student can actually do something like that,” said Harvey.
“I have to get it on my phone and say, ‘No, no, no, that’s when I taught him,’ and I almost have to prove that Bukayo was one of our students.
“They don’t identify with it, they just think it’s … becoming a professional footballer, and that’s so far from anything we talk about in school.
“It’s nice for us to say, ‘Oh no, no, no, this student came here’.”
(Image: Josh Mellor)
The school is definitely proud. A framed and signed England shirt greets everyone who arrives at the school reception.
The student body, nearly 3,000 strong, is often shown Saka’s direct A * GCSE results to show that academic achievement is as important as athletic ability, Harvey said.
The assistant director proudly shared how Saka’s calm and respectful character shines through in interviews.
“In every interview I see him, he is so comfortable and speaks so well that he always does it with a smile on his face,” he said.
“He’s always been like that, I promise you that when I was teaching him in seventh grade and he was 11 years old, he was the calming factor in the class.
“Of course they are all very young children, they come to play sports and it is their favorite lesson of the week, most of them. He was always calm, respectful, but then had a really nice relationship with everyone. “
Mr. Harvey is also Head of Behavior, so older students often ask him how well the midfielder behaved.
“He was never naughty. I hate using the word banter because students use it to death. He knew how to joke people, “he said.” But he knew where the line was and he always did it with a certain respect. “
Mr. Harvey credits Saka’s parents with their son’s well-balanced personality and success in reconciling school work and football.
“I’ll talk a lot about his mother and father because we had to work a lot with them, because he obviously had a lot of time from us, then with Arsenal, then with England.
“And of course that takes a lot of communication, which requires you to work with us to make sure he’s doing his degree, which he’s done amazingly well.”
It must have been difficult for Saka and his family to be pulled in so many directions, added Mr Harvey.
“He was always quite headstrong because he knew what he was up to and what he was doing.
“I say the same thing about the family you know who gave up endless weekends and traveled the country by God knows what the weather was.
“And they did, they always gave up their time.”