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Hearts captain Naismith recalls trials with Arsenal

Hearts captain Steven Naismith has recalled trials with Arsenal as a teen.

When the forward was still a youngster in Scotland, he had the opportunity to have a trial at Arsenal - but he knew it wasn't the right fit for him from an early stage.

Naismith told evertonfc.com: “I was playing every week for Kilmarnock, so could only go [to the Arsenal trial] during an international break.

"I was at Kilmarnock on £500 a week and half-thinking I'd be going down there to train with the reserves.

“I remember the kit man getting me from reception and and taking me to the dressing room.

“I walked through and there was Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole – and I am this wee guy from Kilmarnock. Not anywhere near that level or involved in that lifestyle.

“There were these players from around the world and I'm thinking, 'Oh my God'.

“I was staying in a hotel and sat there on the first night and thought, 'They could offer me anything, here, and I wouldn't take it'. I didn't want to move away, I wasn't ready.

“It was an eye opener in terms of facilities and quality of player. In one drill, Gilberto Silva stood in the centre circle, took a touch with his right foot and pinged the ball out to the winger.

“Then [assistant manager] Pat Rice passed him another ball and he took a touch with his left and drilled it with that foot. You could not tell which was his strongest foot.

“I was just amazed with it all. Kilmarnock did not have a training ground and Arsenal's facilities were second to none. But I thought, 'I am not moving away from home'."

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Paul Vegas

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