Liverpool's Ovie Ejaria: It was painful to be released by Arsenal

Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria has admitted he was shocked to find out he had been released by Arsenal as a youngster.

Ejaria, 18, spent nine years with the Gunners after joining at the age of seven, but was let go by the club in 2014 before moving to Liverpool.

"It was tough," Ejaria told the Liverpool Echo. "And it came as a bit of a shock, to be honest.

"But I was fortunate enough to have offers from a number of clubs at different levels, some others in the London area and some up north too. I chose Liverpool and I'm pleased that I did."

Ejaria made his Liverpool debut in the 3-0 EFL Cup third-round victory over Derby County last month, before making his first start for the club in the next round of the competition as the Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Tuesday.

"It's happened so quickly," Ejaria said. "Twelve months ago I wouldn't have thought that this would have taken place, but of course I'm very happy that it has. Things have changed in a short space of time for me but it's been really good.

"It was quite hard at first. I was only 16 and away from home but as time went on I became more used to it. One of the biggest things I've learnt since coming to Liverpool is becoming more independent. After a while everything became more familiar and I started to enjoy myself more so that helped a lot.

"I've really enjoyed my time here at Liverpool so far and I hope I will have many more good times with the club in the future."