BRENTFORD star Josh McEachran has revealed he rejected a five-year deal from Real Madrid.
The midfielder could have been preparing to line up for Zinedine Zidane’s side at the Bernabeu this weekend against Espanyol – but instead he will be on the pitch at Middlesbrough.
McEachran, 24, was tipped as one of the England’s brightest young talents after making his Chelsea debut in the Champions League aged just 17.
Then Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked by Bayern Munich on Thursday, handed him another 17 appearances before the season was out.
The buzz around the England youth international was building, and soon the La Liga and European giants were knocking on the door.
He told the Gazette: “I was 16. “I’d just signed my scholarship at Chelsea but Real came in with a five-year deal.
“They wanted me to sign and offered to move all my family over there.
“The thing was, I was so close to making my debut and nobody (from the Academy) had done that since John Terry.
“I was a Chelsea fan and I just wanted to play for Chelsea – which I did.”
Unfortunately for McEachran, despite being handed a long-term deal at Chelsea, his career faded away at Stamford Bridge as he was sent out on numerous loans, including to Boro, before joining Brentford on a free transfer in 2015.
And with hindsight being a wonderful thing, he admits that his decision to reject Madrid may have been the wrong one.
He said: “At the time I thought I was making the right decision. Looking back, maybe If I knew, whatever, then it could have been different. But at that time I thought it was the right call.”
Brentford are currently languishing in 20th spot in the Championship, however, they head to the North East on the back of an unbeaten three-match run.
McEachran said: “Where we are in the table doesn’t reflect how we’re playing.
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“Romelu Lukaku has started exactly as you’d want a £75m signing to start.
“Not only has he scored a load of goals but he’s also silenced those questioning his link-up play and the first touch.
“He’s the only player in my mind when it comes to the first goalscorer market – and I fancy United to get loads againsrt Crystal Palace.”
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“We’ve absolutely battered teams but we just haven’t been able to score. Against Derby in midweek we had a ridiculous amount of possession, we just need to start taking opportunities and hopefully start climbing the table. That’ll come.
“We know it will be difficult on Saturday. Boro are always up there in the Championship. It’ll be one of our toughest games.”
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