Marcus McGuane has explained joining Barcelona to play for their B side was the logical step after a lack of first-team opportunities at Arsenal.
The 19-year-old has spent 12 years at the North London club and has made two senior appearances this season – against BATE and Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League.
The midfielder was handed his first-team debut in Wednesday’s Catalan Super Cup victory over Espanyol after making appearances for the B side in Spain’s second tier.
“I was getting frustrated by a lack of opportunities,” McGuane told an interview with the Daily Mail.
“It is good to train but I did not want my performance to plateau and stay at the same level. This step made sense.
“It (Spain’s La Liga 123) is a competitive league. There is a lot of emphasis on winning as well as performance. People have a misconception about Spain. They think it is about how many passes you make, like they are obsessed with possession stats. It is far from true. The emphasis is on winning but of course it matters how you win.
“There's no grudge (with Arsenal) but I felt the best thing was to find another way. If you want to be at a place to develop and get first-team football, maybe you have to look elsewhere than Arsenal.
“Before English footballers were less adventurous. Now we see opportunities elsewhere.
“Being here feels incredible, when you go to first-team training, you go into the dressing room first. That first walk was so exciting. The first person I saw was Sergio Busquets. As a central midfielder, seeing him in the flesh, one of the best in the world on the ball, his grace, technical ability… then I saw Coutinho… then Messi!
“You don't want to act too star-struck but I grew up watching these guys on television. Five of us were over there from the B team. The first-teamers came up and said "Hi" as they got their kits together. Coutinho heard my English accent, made me feel welcome, and said he was there if I need anything.”