Hale End holds a special place in a lot of our academy players' hearts, and that is no different for Eddie Nketiah and Amario Cozier-Duberry who recently sat down to discuss their times there.
With Eddie having long been a feature of our first team and Amario aiming to make the breakthrough, the duo enjoyed comparing their experiences and pathways to - and eventually through - the academy, and how they felt when they became members of it.
Amario recalls the huge difference in making the step up from Sunday league, saying: "I remember the facilities, I think the kit, the balls. It was just mad different from where I came from. Obviously the pitches and facility-wise, but the intensity as well. It was much harder, you had to be fitter to keep up with everything."
Eddie could relate, adding: "It was just different. Players that I used to play against, and having them as teammates, and just adapting. At Arsenal you definitely felt that family feel, the players are really close, and the staff cared. You felt at home and as an Arsenal supporter, it felt right for myself so that was good."
They were also keen to pay tribute to those special individuals who helped get them there, with Amario saying: "I think my PE teacher in primary school was the biggest influence, because he told my mum. She worked at the school as well, so he put in a word to her to say 'get this boy into football'. He and my Sunday League coach, they’ve all played big parts in my journey so far."
"When I first came to Arsenal, the assistant of the Head of Academy Dave Court was the one that was really pushing for me," Eddie replied. "He really believed in me. Kwame [Ampadu] as well, he was our coach when I first came in the under-18s. Then I’d probably say Thierry [Henry] as well, in the year I worked with him when he first came up to under-18s.
"He’s a legend, having him there believing in you and having that confidence behind you. I think I had one of my best seasons that year, he just gave me so much confidence."
Hear much more from the pair, including how they got scouted, their initial experiences training with the first team, and then playing alongside them in match action, by pressing play on the video above.