Shkodran Mustafi was just 14 when he left hometown Bad Hersfeld, moving more than 350km north to join Bundesliga side Hamburger SV.
Leaving his family was an experience that the World Cup winner admits was challenging, but one he feels also helped him to “grow quicker”.
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“I think it’s not easy you know, moving from home when you are 14,” he told Arsenal Player. “Most of the things in life you’ve never done yourself. Your parents do everything, you just go to school, play football, come back home and that was it.
"It’s not easy not to have the people around you and you start growing quicker"
“Suddenly you have to move from home to a city which was [a long way] from home. It’s not easy not to have the people around you and you start growing quicker I think because you think about things that a 14-year-old kid wouldn’t think if he was at home.
“As a father or as a mother I think it’s difficult to give your kid away at 14. For me at this time it was like ‘Oh yeah, I’ll go to Hamburg - it’s a team which plays in the Bundesliga - yeah, I’ll go’. Because it was a dream for me, but for the parents, they think different.
"They think, ‘Okay, 14 years old, he goes away - it’s not around the corner like if something happens I can be there in five minutes’.
“But we had a place where the 15 of us, young boys from all over Germany, and even from different countries, stayed.
“We all lived in one building and we all trained with the team, of different ages as well. So the good thing was that I was not alone. I had people around me who helped me a lot.”