He said: “I went there (Villa) at 10 or 11 and I just didn't enjoy it," he said. “I grew up as a village kid and it was quite rough. They weren't really my type of people.
“I said to my dad: 'If you make me go, I'll train badly so they don't take me on anyway'. I never went.
“Dad said: 'Fair play to you, you know what you want'. Even at that age I knew it wasn't going to be for me. I went and enjoyed my football with my friends again at the weekend.
“I signed at Walsall until I was 15 and they released me, because they felt I was too small.
“I went to Shrewsbury a few days later and had a trial game at right-back – didn't impress. I told them: ' I'm not a right-back, I play centre midfield'. I went back for another trial in midfield and I signed the next day."
He added: “The reason those two clubs worked better was probably because of the Centre of Excellence feel. There wasn't as much pressure and they were my type of people – easy going and they wanted you to go and enjoy yourself while you're progressing at the same time.
“I enjoyed the environment, that's the most important thing for me. That's all I want."