Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale make feelings clear as Arsenal star announces summer exit

Arsenal youngster James Hillson has posted an emotional message on social media as his time at the club comes to an end.

It was announced earlier this month that the goalkeeper would be leaving the north Londoners upon the expiration of his contract on June 30. Hillson is one of 22 players departing the Gunners due to their contracts expiring, with senior stars Mohamed Elneny and Cedric Soares the most high profile of those leaving.

Hillson initially joined Arsenal on loan from Reading for the second half of the 2018/19 season, with injuries to Tom Smith and Karl Hein leaving the Gunners U18 and U23 sides short. He officially joined Arsenal in July 2019 and while he did not make a senior appearance during his time with the club, he was named on the bench in the Europa League on a number of occasions.

The 23-year-old has trained with the first team regularly despite his lack of senior minutes and has previously praised Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya and Karl Hein for offering him advice. Now, as his time at the Gunners comes to an end, Hillson has taken to social media to thank everyone associated with the club.

"Thank you to everyone at Arsenal, including the coaching staff, players and everyone in between for making my last 5 years such a great experience," Hillson said. "I’m excited to see where my next journey takes me."

READ MORE: Arsenal’s dream subs after £100m-plus transfer spend, Nwaneri chance, Calafiori signing

READ MORE: The 22 players waving goodbye to Arsenal today as Edu summer transfer plans take shape

A number of senior stars took to the comments of the Instagram post to wish the goalkeeper the best of luck. Declan Rice said: "Been a pleasure brother all the best mate." Aaron Ramsdale commented: "Good luck ledge." David Raya added: "All the best mate."

Hillson, who actually played up front for Arsenal once during a pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood, opened up about training with the first team in November. Speaking to the official Arsenal website, the youngster said: "Training with the first team is intense and operates at a different level, which is fantastic because it constantly pushes you to perform at your best.

Sign up to our Arsenal WhatsApp service and get all the latest breaking news and in-depth stories from's dedicated Arsenal writers direct to your phone by clicking this link.

"As a goalkeeper, you can't afford to relax or coast because you will get found out. The camaraderie among goalkeepers is incredibly supportive, and we all want each other to succeed. Players like Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya have been generous with their advice.

"Aaron, for instance, has helped me with footwork and positioning, and David has shared valuable insights about core body shape and being ready for shots. Karl, on the other hand, sets a really high standard with his work ethic, both on and off the pitch."