Regrets are a universal phenomenon. However, in the face of mistakes seen in retrospect, regrets certainly sting even more.
The tale of clubs selling great talents is one thing, but that of sides rejecting brilliant ones at a young age is another nut entirely. Then again, not every scout is capable enough to peek into the future. Here are just a few such players:
1. Harry Kane
The English striker had a brief trial period at Arsenal academy, but was released on account of him lacking height and pace. Wenger himself was baffled at this choice in 2015, by when Kane was a regular scorer in the Premier League.
The former gaffer commented: “I didn’t know, I read it in the papers. I found it quite funny, you know, and you are always a bit angry as well because I asked: ‘Why did he go?’ But at that age, boys can move here and there.”
2. Luke Shaw
Shaw has certainly stamped his presence with regard to securing a dream rise after a fall from grace under Jose Mourinho. However, rising up from rejection has been a regular feat for him.
Before surviving as a Red Devil, the left-back was a strong Chelsea fan, and a part of their Guilford development center. Owing to the competitive nature of its academy, Shaw wasn’t able to go through, and joined the Southampton academy instead, aged 8.
3. Marcus Rashford
Before breaking into the United senior team, Rashford was rejected by the other Mancunian side in town. Even in his case, his height was the reason why the Sky Blues rejected a young talent who lived walking distance from their training grounds.
For Rashford, who now dons the no.10 jersey at Old Trafford and is a regular presence on the pitch, luck and fate have smiled quite well from the start itself.
4. Antoine Griezmann
The French star is yet another one on a list of players that were thought to be too small for the job at a young age. In this case, it was Lyon that primarily rejected the forward, although Auxerre, Saint-Etienne, and Sochaux were also guilty of the same.
It is quite amusing that being too short is an issue that plagued these athletes at such a young age, and causes one to wonder just how many potentially exceptional children were rejected for being a tad bit too short.
5. Mario Balotelli
Back in 2006, the Italian had a brief trial spell at Barcelona. In his case, the cause for rejection was the same one that would be cited later on in his career as well – bad attitude.
This is in contrast to his goal-scoring form, which was reportedly quite decent for a trial-period, with 5 goals under his belt. While much has been said about academies being short-sighted, identifying this flaw in the striker is certainly a masterstroke on part of Barca.
6. Kylian Mbappe
Now a goal-scoring machine with PSG, Mbappe doesn’t exactly join the list of multiple Chelsea youth products that simply couldn’t make the cut into the final team.
In his case, a week-long trial period with the Blues at the age of 11 didn’t work out well. All for the better, probably, as he wouldn’t have progressed forward that easily anyway.
As far as young players go, Mbappe has certainly struck the jackpot with his antics, for despite still being a developing talent, he shows immense potential for regular entertainment.
7. Diego Costa
Born in Brazil, the Spanish striker was a rare youth talent that most Brazilian clubs didn’t let through into their academies, with the likes of Corinthians, Palmeiras, and Santos falling prey to poor scouting activity.
Of course, coming under the radar of Jorge Mendes would change all that for Costa, aged 15.