Is this the best XI of players who have been rejected for being too small?
After Jack Harper was not selected for Scotland’s Under-19’s despite being one of the most talented young players in world football, we take a look at the best team of rejected stars.
Mostly rejected for being too small, this team contains current and former goalscoring stars, a legendary goalkeeper - and the best player in world football.
So, is this the best XI of players rejected for being too small?
GK - Dino Zoff
The Italian legend won a World Cup and European Championship during his playing career, and was named as the third best goalkeeper of the 20th century. However, it could have been so different, as Zoff was rejected for being too small during trials with Internazionale and Juventus when a teenager. Five years later, he made his Serie A debut with Udinese, and the rest is history.
RB - Nathaniel Clyne
Likely to be England’s right-back for the next decade, Clyne has been wowing audiences at Southampton and Crystal Palace since 2008. Yet his career could have started at a different London club, when Arsenal took him on trial. A rejection, and the 23-year-old had to work his way up a different path to the Premier League.
CB - Billy Wright
Considered one of the best centre-backs in English football history, Wright was originally rejected by Wolves for being too small, but he persevered and earned his place in the team - before leading them to three First Division titles. Also an England legend, he was the first player in the world to earn 100 international caps.
CB - Tyrone Mings
The next up-and-coming star is Ipswich’s Tyrone Mings, who joined the club from non-league football for £10,000. A left-back and centre-half, the youngster was released from Southampton’s illustrious academy for being too small. But now, having grown massively in the intervening years, he is looking to lead Ipswich to the Premier League.
LB - Luke Shaw
The current Manchester United star came through Southampton’s academy, but was originally rejected from boyhood team Chelsea due to his size. Still wiry and small, Shaw has shown that skill and talent can make up for a lack of physicality, and he is guaranteed to have a wonderful club and international career.
MF - Michael Essien
The midfield engine was, surprisingly, not signed by Manchester United for being too small. Considering how his game was based around physical play, that will come as a shock. But United’s loss was Chelsea’s gain, as Essien wowed Stamford Bridge audiences for years before injuries took their toll.
MF - Roy Keane
Rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion when a youngster, Keane was finally given his big break for Nottingham Forest, and made a name for himself in the side before transferring to Manchester United. He is said to have written to every Football League club in the hopes of getting a trial before his move to Forest.
MF - Lionel Messi
The best player in the world is known to have suffered growth problems in his youth, and that was the reason behind his transfer to Barcelona. With no football career set to happen in Argentina, Barca offered to pay for his treatment, and they were the clear ones to benefit.
ST - Kenny Dalglish
Playing in the West Ham academy, Dalglish left the club after an unsuccessful trial period to join Celtic, where he made his name. Dalglish is also said to have slipped through Liverpool’s net when on trial at Melwood, although he moved to Anfield later in his career - and has gone down in Merseyside history.
ST - Alan Shearer
An ardent Newcastle fan, Shearer was rejected after being made to play in goal during a trial spell. He made the long move to the South Coast to sign with Southampton, before heading to Blackburn and then back to Tyneside - where he remains a club icon due to some incredible goalscoring feats.
ST - Harry Kane
The current hope of England, Kane came through the Spurs academy after supporting Arsenal as a young boy and playing with them. He left after being told he was too short and slow, before an unsuccessful spell with Watford. Following that up with his career at Spurs, Kane is now the leading Premier League goalscorer, and there is no guessing just how good he can become