Working in a car factory
I was playing for Hednesford Town and they were paying me per game and I was also working on the production line for the car firm Bentley. I was filling up gases and liquid in the cars and doing material work. I enjoyed it, they were long hours but the money was good, it was just a shame they were laying people off while I was there.
Being made redundant
When Bentley made me redundant, I had it in my head that I wanted to get a full-time club. I believed I could still get one. My manager, Lee McDonald, drilled it into me that I was the best left-back in the National League. I went on trial at Stoke, Crewe and Crystal Palace – everyone was better than me technically by a long way. But it improved me massively playing with players like Wilfried Zaha and Yohan Cabaye.
More after the break
Looking for a club
The same week I got made redundant by Bentley, I played against Notts County and then against Birmingham City under-23s and it was one of the best games I’ve played. I was driving in my car on the way to Shrewsbury Town, where I was going on trial the following day, when I got a call from my agent. He said Arsenal were watching and gave me the postcode to their training ground.
On trial at Arsenal
I went to Arsenal’s training ground and suddenly I was doing a 5v5 with some of the best players in the world – players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez - it was incredible. The tempo and the movement were brilliant; I’d never seen anything like that before up close. Arsene told me he wanted me to catch up and really work on my right foot and first touch and that’s what I’ve been doing every day.
Making my debut
The best moment for me so far was making my debut against Southampton. It was an amazing feeling to put on an Arsenal shirt. I looked at the badge and still couldn’t believe I was playing for them. My next goal is to start playing more regularly for Arsenal and then maybe play for England in the future. It’s a blessing what’s happened and I appreciate it. My parents have helped me a lot and I’m so grateful.