Reyes: Arsenal made me mature

Former Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes has revealed that, despite becoming homesick, his time with the Gunners helped him grow up.

The 26-year-old made 69 league appearances for Arsene Wenger's side from 2004-07, helping the club win the Premier League title in 2004 and FA Cup a year later.

However, the Spanish international gradually grew tired of London life, eventually leaving for Real Madrid on loan for the 2006/07 campaign, where he netted twice on the final day of the season to ensure the Madridistas lifted the la Liga title.

But rather than join the Madridistas permanently, Reyes instead was sold by Arsenal to city-rivals Atletico, where his career has continually stalled.

Reyes has made just 30 league outings for the rojiblancos either side of a season-long loan spell at Benfica, appearing as a late substitute in Atletico's 4-0 Champions League drubbing at Chelsea last week.

But the former Sevilla starlet has revealed that he retains only fond memories of his time at Highbury, adding that under Wenger he was able to mature as a person and player.

"I keep good memories of my spell with Arsenal, which is a club I'll always respect," he said in the News of the World.

"Playing in England was an opportunity. But I was homesick and decided to move back to Spain.

"Playing in England was a massive experience for me. Even if people don't think I made it here, I grew up as a human being and learnt a lot."