Trainee Isaac Hayden, currently on loan at Hull City has revealed he was close to signing for Manchester United as a teenager but chose Arsenal instead.
The 20-year-old defender stated he turned down the Gunners perennial foes United because he has supported Arsene Wenger’s side all his life and legendary former French midfielder Patrick Vieira was his footballing idol.
“I was 14 when I joined Arsenal. I’d been at Southend before from the age of under-10s. We played Arsenal in a friendly at under-13s and they said they’d take me,” Hayden said.
“They were my team growing up because my idol was Patrick Vieira. I always watched his game and studied what he did.
“As soon as I got the nod, and the choice between Manchester United and Arsenal, it was an easy decision. I said ‘Drive me there now!’ as soon as I knew they were interested. It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Man United were keen but when you’re 13 and living in London with your parents, it was a no brainer.”