An east Londoner who coached some of the country's best footballers, including Harry Kane, has written a memoir reflecting on his career.

Roy Massey was assistant coach of Arsenal's academy from 1998 until 2014, working with the likes of Jack Wilshere and current Gunners and England star Bukayo Saka.

He even coached Harry Kane, who he released from the academy before the striker went on to become one of Tottenham and England's greatest strikers.

“I released Harry from the academy when he was 12 years of age,” Roy said.

"He turned out to be an outstanding player, but back then he hadn’t physically developed.”

Roy was a striker himself during his own playing days, which included a stint at Leyton Orient.

East London Advertiser: Roy Massey was a coach at Arsenal's academy for more than 15 yearsRoy Massey was a coach at Arsenal's academy for more than 15 years (Image: Roy Massey)

In 1967, during his time with the O's under hardman manager Dick Graham, he had hit his head so hard that he was seeing double.

“I was running around like a headless chicken,” Roy recalled. “I went up to the manager and said, ‘Dick I can’t see’. Dick shouted back, ‘I can see you, get back on that bloody field!’” 

As a younger player, Roy said he “always had a knack at scoring goals, wherever I played.”

He thought that he’d have an “exceptionally good career” – until a serious knee injury forced him into early retirement.

East London Advertiser: Roy (second from right) during his playing days at Leyton OrientRoy (second from right) during his playing days at Leyton Orient (Image: PA)

Roy was forced into coaching and, eventually, made a career out of nurturing young football talent at Arsenal's academy.

There are a lot of youngsters, Roy explained, that may start out as “outstanding boys”, but end up not making the grade as adult players.

“You don’t know how they’re going to develop mentally or physically,” he said. 

But Roy claimed there was one boy who shone from the very beginning: Gunners legend Jack Wilshere.

“Oh, he always had wonderful talent. He wasn’t a big lad, but his vision and ability to pick out a pass was far better than everybody else on the pitch. You could instantly see there was a top player in the making.”

East London Advertiser: Roy Massey hailed ex-Gunners star Jack WilshereRoy Massey hailed ex-Gunners star Jack Wilshere (Image: PA)

Roy added: “Jack was very quiet but had good parents who kept his feet firmly on the ground – and that’s the same with many players who have a good career.”

79-year-old Roy lives in Upminster with his wife, where he has been for more than 30 years.

“When I retired,” Roy said, “ I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’”

And so he started writing down anecdotes for his grandchild to read once he had passed away.

Then Mark Metcalf (author of The Origins of the Football League), having read his short stories, convinced Roy to co-write a whole book with him.

The result is Roy Massey: A Life in Football and a Coach to the Stars, which reflects on his long career.

Roy thinks its a “good book for anyone who loves the sport”, but specifically hopes it will help parents of aspiring footballers stay grounded.

“Some parents can get carried away by their little nine-year-old, who's the best player at Arsenal, and they have big dreams for their young lad.”

The book is out now and can be bought at