FC Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn has revealed he turned down the chance to join Liverpool as a teenager and insists he does not regret the decision despite his modest professional career. Horn has spent his entire career with the Bundesliga club since signing professional terms in 2010 and has never been capped by his country at senior level.
The 24-year-old moved to boyhood club Cologne as a youngster in 2002 aged just nine and had to wait another 12 years for his first team debut against Hamburg, after a spell with the club's reserve side in the second division. He has played for seven of Germany's youth sides and was the number one as the country won the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
But Horn's career could have taken a different path had he accepted a move to Liverpool during his formative years while Pepe Reina was the number one on Merseyside. The stopper would later be linked with a move to Anfield in the summer of 2016 before Loris Karius joined the club and Horn admits he has no regrets.
"I can't rule it out completely," he told The Independent of a possible move to England. "I often had chances and offers to move to England as a youth player, but in my opinion the best goalkeeping education is here in Germany which is why I've always stayed.
"Of course, when you're more of a finished product as a goalkeeper and don't have as much room to develop further then it's certainly interesting prospect - but right now I'm incredibly happy here in Koln.
"At the age of 15 or 16, Liverpool were very interested in me. But I didn't go there because I felt the goalkeeping schooling in Germany was much better and I had enough examples, for instance Ron-Robert Zieler who came back after a year [at Leicester], and that's why I stayed in Koln. It definitely wasn't the wrong decision!"
Though Horn could have joined five-time European champions Liverpool, his allegiance in England lies with Arsenal who his Cologne side face in the Europa League this week. Jorge Schmadtke's side have not graced continental competition for 25 years and Horn will not allow his admiration for the Gunners distract him from the challenge ahead.
"I've always thought of Arsene Wenger as a fantastic manager," he added. "I like the football culture in England and Arsenal just had something in my view that the other teams didn't have. I've always enjoyed the style of football they try to employ even if they haven't won that many titles. People forget quite quickly the times gone by and the years where he made a real impact on the club to get them where they are today, which is why I don't quite understand the protests."