‘I can’t believe I’m here… it’s mental’

Cohen Bramall became our latest signing when he joined the club this week - and you can watch his first interview right here. Below is a full transcript:

Cohen, welcome to Arsenal. How does it feel to be an Arsenal player?

Incredible, incredible. It’s a dream come true… I can’t believe that I’m here already. It’s mental.

It’s been quite a crazy week for you hasn’t it…

Crazy, a crazy week.

Can you talk us through it?

Well I played for Hednesford Town and I had been there for about five months. The manager, Liam McDonald, really took me on. I wanted to go into Hednesford as a left winger, and he said in front of my mum and dad that he wanted me to be a left back. I was like ‘OK, I’m new to this’. I played left back for them and Liam gave me a lot of confidence to be a proper left back. He gave me all the confidence that I needed and teams were getting interested. My confidence was getting bigger and bigger, and then I signed with an agency called Full Contact, with Lee Payne and Dan Chapman. It’s a great agency with a lot of non-league talent there, so credit to them on that. Crystal Palace came in for me and I went on trial with them for the week, and I played in a behind-closed-doors game against Brentford. It went OK, and then I went on trial at Sheffield [Wednesday]. I played a game at Birmingham City on a Monday. Then on the Tuesday, I was made redundant from Bentley Motors and on the Wednesday, Arsenal came in. I was gobsmacked and took the chance with both hands. I drove down on the Wednesday and trained with the first team on Thursday and Friday. Then they offered me a deal.

What was your initial reaction when you were told that Arsenal were interested in signing you?

My mouth dropped, I looked at my agent. It was a pretty emotional response really. I just couldn’t believe it… couldn’t believe it. I just thought ‘yes!’.

What can you tell us about your first meeting with Arsène Wenger?

I met him on the pitch, and he’s a top, top guy. There was chemistry there straight away. I think he’s a great guy and hopefully I can impress him.

Tell us a bit about those two training sessions - what was it like going from playing to Hednesford to being on the same training pitch as Mesut Ozil and Alexis?

It’s mental because you’re there watching Match of the Day and then the next minute you’re there on the same pitch as Alexis, Ozil, Giroud and Petr Cech. It still hasn’t hit me now and I don’t know when it will hit me. But like I say, I know I’ve got to take the opportunity.

What did your family and friends say when you told them you’d been training with those players?

They couldn’t believe it, they just couldn’t believe it. I rang my mum, and she was like ‘Cohen, I’m so proud!’. She was upset but it was a good cry! It’s amazing and everything is just so surreal right now.

Growing up, how closely did you follow Arsenal?

I followed them a lot, I liked the football. They play the best football in the Premier League, no doubt - there’s no doubt about it. I love watching that. You know that goal with Wilshere and Giroud [against Norwich]? I love that goal, I always watch it. I tend to learn my role more than watch [games]. It sounds weird but I tend to learn the left-back role by looking at top players rather than watching full games.

Which left backs in general do you watch to try and learn from?

Marcelo, Kieran Gibbs, David Alaba. They bomb forward, and that’s my key - my speed is the key to overlapping, trying to put the ball into the box and trying to get an assist. That’s what I do.

You mentioned that Jack Wilshere goal - who were the Arsenal players you especially looked up when you were growing up?

Thierry Henry, there’s no doubt. He was a top, top player. Straight away I’ll say Thierry Henry.

What was it about Thierry that you particularly liked?

He was strong, fast. I liked the cockiness about him, the way he put himself about on the pitch. He was a top player and again it’s mad that I’m here because he’s been here… it’s just crazy.


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