Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur turned down the chance to sign Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne as a 10-year-old, it has been revealed.
Beginning his career at Brixton's Afewee Academy, Clyne was rejected by the Gunners following a trial while Spurs had an office on the site of the training centre in order to keep tabs on the latest talent.
Clyne, 23, who could make his international debut for England against San Marino on Thursday 9 October, began his professional career at Crystal Palace before moving to the south coast. However, youth coach Steadman Scott said Arsenal had the option to sign him first.
"When he was 10 I sent him up to Arsenal for a trial," he told the Guardian. "He was a winger at the time and I told him: 'Take on players, score goals. Don't go thinking you're there to have a good time, son. You're going there to make an impact. It's one chance.'
"He came back and told me he'd scored four, but Arsenal reckoned he was too small. I still remind them of that when their scouts come down: we sent you Nat and now you'd pay a lot of money for him, and he's just knocked you out of the [Capital One] Cup.
"Spurs had a look at him, along with Zaine [Francis-Angol], and liked him. But a while later Scannell, who was at Palace by then, told me: 'Clyne's up here and really shocking out the youth team.'"
Clyne's impressive form in the Premier League during the past two seasons has seen him rewarded with a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad, performances that this term have been supplemented with goals against Liverpool and Arsenal.
Having selected just six defenders in his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifying matches against San Marino and Estonia, Clyne is likely to be involved in at least one of the games and would become the first international graduate from the Brixton-based academy should he indeed make his debut.