Raheem Sterling was snubbed by a host of Premier League clubs as a teenager, including the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, according to QPR youth team coach Kevin Gallen.
Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR back in 2012, with Rafael Benitez paying £500,000 for the teenager – a fee that could rise to £5million depending on appearances.
The forward has gone on to establish himself as one of the most exciting young players in Europe since signing for Liverpool, but Gallen has revealed he could have been plying his trade for one of their biggest domestic rivals.
“Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, they all knew about Raheem. But their attitude was: ‘Too small, too much baggage’,” said Gallen.
“At the time, I wanted him to stay at QPR. I persuaded the reserves to give him his debut at 15 so he’d feel he was being fast-tracked. But at one meeting, after training, Raheem said ‘Steve, I have to go’.
“I could see how genuinely upset he was and I thought, ‘I can’t do that to a kid’, so we reluctantly agreed to listen to offers.
“Now, with hindsight, I can see it was the right thing for him to leave, as much for a change in environment off the pitch.”