He supported West Ham, idolising Di Canio, but Luton were his first club; he was playing for them against Barnet, aged nine, when Arsenal spotted him.
"The scout was the ref. I didn't know. When I had to pick between Luton and Arsenal, it sounds stupid but I didn't choose until the last day of the [registration] window. Arsenal was further away and I had mates at Luton," he revealed to the Sunday Times.
He went to the Gunners' Hale End Academy, under the tutelage of Steve Bould and Neil Banfield.
"They deserve a lot of credit. People say, 'Arsenal's youth set-up is good', but they're good coaches as well. They're focused. You wouldn't want to muck around or let them down. Since I remember, from being in the under-10s, the training here has been about passing. We played teams such as Ajax, with similar football ideas. The boss wants you to go forward all the time and that suits my game. When I get the ball my first thought is, 'Can I pass forward?' If not then maybe I can travel with it. If not, then sideways."