Birmingham winger Sebastian Larsson admits he had the "best football education I could have had" as a youngster with Sunday's Carling Cup final opponents Arsenal.
Larsson left the Gunners five years ago to join Blues in pursuit of regular first team football and has no regrets over that decision. The Sweden international retains a lot of affection for his former club but that will be put to one side as City look to spring an upset.
"Arsenal is a club that means a lot to me, definitely. I had five great years there," Larsson said.
"It was the best football education I could have had so I will always be grateful for that.
"I always want Arsenal to win and do well - apart from when they play us, including Sunday, of course.
"I have played against them a few times now and it's not like I played 100 games for their first team. But, like I said, it is a club that means a lot of me."
Larsson would have missed out on the final had he agreed personal terms with Newcastle last month.
He is out of contract in the summer but insists all his focus is on the final
He said: "Listen, what happened in January happened. That's in the past. Ever since the transfer window shut, that was the end of it. It doesn't affect me at all.
"I am just focusing on football and enjoying my time at the club, as I've said I've always done, and I do as much as ever. I just want to go out there on Sunday and do the club proud. I have always maintained that I am happy here."