Reading wanted Chelsea star Hazard as a teenager

Reading attempted to sign Eden Hazard – at the age of 16. Reported in the Daily Mail, manager Brian McDermott has been speaking about his time as a scout for the newly promoted side, explaining that on one of his trips to France Hazard caught his eye, well before Chelsea knew he existed.

McDermott said: “I would go to three games over the weekend starting on Friday night and one of them on this particular trip was at Lille. Hazard was just playing his first games in the team.

He was still only 16, I think. I hadn’t gone out there to see him, just to take in the fixture, but he stood out within minutes like the proverbial sore thumb.

The 21-year-old Belgian spent five years, plus two years in the developmental set up, at Lille before his £32m move to Stamford Bridge this summer. In that time he played 147 Ligue 1 games and scored 36 goals, but McDermott seems to remember having a word with Lille’s representatives about taking the 16-year-old. He added: “I earned my living then by wandering in search of players, and I might have asked about him, but no way was he available.

These guys know when they have a special talent on their hands – you can’t turn up at a place like Lille and just go, ‘We’ll take your best player’ It just doesn’t happen.

On Wedenesday Hazard will be reintroduced to McDermott and Reading in Chelsea’s first home fixture of the season. Hazard impressed in his Premier League debut at the weekend but tonight he faces a newly-promoted Reading side looking for their first upset of the new campaign.

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