Aaron Ramsey can still vividly remember his “surreal” first day at London Colney after signing for Arsenal as a highly-sought after teenager.
The Welsh midfielder joined the club in June 2008 from Cardiff City, and has since gone on to establish himself as a key member of the squad.
A lot has happened in the intervening eight years, but Ramsey says all the changes that have taken place - both on and off the field - have been positive.
“I had to make a decision at the time [of signing for the club],” he told Arsenal Player. “I flew over to see the boss and I knew straight away that this was where I wanted to be, I wanted to be in his plans and I was just buzzing.
“As soon as I came in on the first day I was a bit starstruck with all the faces there, some of the biggest players in world football.
“I am sure they were all thinking, ‘Who is this guy coming in?’ and it was nerve racking going around and introducing yourself, meeting some of the top players in the Premier League.
“It was a bit surreal and I had to pinch myself, but they made me feel welcome straight away and made me feel like they were no different [to anyone else].
“I think I am a bit louder now than I was then!” he added. “You understand how things go on and off the pitch a bit better.
“It only seems like the other day that I was signing for Arsenal, but there has been eight years in between - so it goes before you notice really.
“I left home as a 17-year-old to live on my own and it was quite tough, but I have grown up a lot since then. I suppose football has helped with that and I have started a young family now, so much has happened in those eight years.”
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