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Hammers star reveals how he came close to living a life of crime

Marko Arnautovic has revealed how he was close to following a life of crime instead of football, saying that he didn’t give a ‘f***’ about the actions he took as a youngster.

The Hammers splashed out £25m+ to sign Arnautovic from Stoke City in the summer, a move that they hoped would help them contend for a spot in Europe – but one that has so far not exactly gone to plan.

Arnautovic has had a tough start to life at the London Stadium, and was blasted for his sending off against Southampton earlier in the season. But since then things have been on the up for the Austrian, who has revealed he could’ve very easily slipped into a life of crime instead of the life of football he currently leads.

The former Stoke City forward told the Daily Mail of his past troubles, and how he realised his former lifestyle was threatening his footballing dream.

The 28-year-old had five clubs between the ages of six and 16, and said: “I didn’t give a f*** about what I did.”

“I didn’t care about anyone or listen to nobody, only my father or mother.”

“I would fight my coaches and say: ‘Who are you to scream or shout at me? Are you my dad? Talk to me normally’.”

“Everywhere I went, Rapid Vienna or Austria Vienna, there was always a problem. I just wanted a coach who said: ‘Just go out and win us the game’.”

“My parents tried but I chose the other way, to be on the street.”

“I wasn’t a gangster or anything but two friends went to jail.”

“Nobody was killed but it was fights on the street and things.”

“When you are on the street, if someone walks towards you it’s better to look down.”

“But we were always looking at people in the eye to try to provoke something. So we would fight.”

“Then some of them started robbing. I was telling my friends: ‘Don’t go in that house to rob or that shop as you will end up in jail’.”

“I told them to go and work and have a good life.”

But the Austrian international insisted that football was the most important thing in his life, and that he had to change his lifestyle if he was to make his career come alive.

“Let’s not exaggerate, most of the time we were just in the park playing football. Football was everything.”

“If I had continued to be that person I was then, I wouldn’t be here now.”

“I was scared a career in football would never happen if I carried on.”

“I knew I had to go away and see some different things and calm down.”