“I loved football because my father used to be a footballer,” Mateta explained. “I watched matches with him on TV all the time.
“That’s why I loved football, and I had friends who I played football with all the time. I was playing football and it became a regular thing.
“I was totally addicted to football.”
However it was the influence of his countrymen that sparked a fascination with the English game.
“I used to watch the Premier League when I was younger,” Mateta recalls. “I was mostly interested in watching the French players, like [Thierry] Henry and our manager Patrick Vieira. So I was always going to watch the Premier League.