Hale End is a place that holds many treasured memories for some of the biggest stars in our first-team, as well as those hoping to become one in the under-21s.
Therefore, our new series Hale End Days pairs graduates at different phases of their careers to reflect on some of their favourite times at the home of our academy.
Kicking it off, Reiss Nelson sat down with Charles Sagoe Jr and the wingers chatted about a range of topics about their time in our academy, and the differences and similarities.
One thing they found they had in common was the moment they first received their training kit, and the buzz they experienced putting it on for the first time.
“My first training session when I put on the kit on - I can’t lie, I was excited!” said Charles. “It was all fresh, and when I was stepping out it was different, I felt like a different person."
“I had the same thing,” Reiss added. “When I came in as an under-8 I didn’t know what to come in in, so I just had on the old-school O2 kit! When I did get signed, they put the kit on you and you just feel fresh. It’s a lovely feeling.
“When you’re wearing the shirt and playing games, or arrive at the training ground in the Arsenal tracksuit, it’s a different feeling. When the other teams see it, they get nervous.”
They also discussed their favourite memories of playing at the venue, with both picking a standout performance as their best.
“There was a main pitch where the under-16s used to train, and on a Thursday they used to have games and they played Watford,” Reiss recalled. “I think I was about 12 and I got the nod to go on.
“I went on and I scored two. When you’re that age, it feels like the first-team because they always played with size five balls, and we played with a size four!”
“There was a game against Colchester on a cold Tuesday night, and I scored four goals and I think I got two assists that game,” Charles added. “I was full of confidence. I remember chopping it on my left and banging it top bins - I’ve got the footage!”
Hear everything they had to say in our full video above, and watch much more about our academy in our documentary series Inside Hale End.
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