QPR's Sterling effort to keep teenager
By Ben Kosky YOUTH team boss Steve Gallen says QPR did all they could in their unsuccessful attempt to keep teenage star Raheem Sterling at Loftus Road. The 15-year-old attacking midfielder from Neasden, already a regular member of the England under-18 sq
By Ben Kosky
YOUTH team boss Steve Gallen says QPR did all they could in their unsuccessful attempt to keep teenage star Raheem Sterling at Loftus Road.
The 15-year-old attacking midfielder from Neasden, already a regular member of the England under-18 squad, signed for Liverpool this week in a �500,000 deal that could eventually net Rangers �1m.
The Rs had already rejected two bids from neighbours Fulham and Gallen believes the club did everything possible to persuade Sterling, a student at Copland Community College in Wembley, to stay.
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"We put him in the reserves, Jim Magilton had him training with the first team when he was 14, and Gianni Paladini offered him the best contract I've ever seen for a young player," Gallen told the Times.
"That would have been a scholarship and then a professional contract. We made it clear all along that we didn't want Raheem to go - but we knew he wanted to and realised a deal had to be done.
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"Agents were putting it around that Manchester City had made a bid for Raheem, but that wasn't true and Arsenal didn't make an official offer for him either.
"Fulham and Liverpool were the only clubs who made bids and at no stage was Raheem interested in going to Fulham. When Liverpool came in, though, he jumped at it.
"Of course it's disappointing, but you can't stop a 15-year-old boy who wants to leave. Getting half a million pounds for a lad who'd come on twice for the reserves isn't a bad deal.
"I like the boy and I wish him well. I think he's an outstanding prospect with an unbelievable amount of talent and he can go to Liverpool and be an excellent player."
Gallen refutes any hint of comparison with Dean Parrett, another product of Rangers' Centre of Excellence who was sold at the age of 15 when he joined Tottenham in a �1m deal three years ago.
Like Sterling, Parrett gained England recognition at a young age and has also appeared for Spurs in the UEFA Cup - and Gallen points to another recent youth team graduate as further proof that the system at QPR can succeed.
Striker Antonio German, 18, who recently scored on his full debut for the Rs' first team against Doncaster, agreed a two-year professional contract with the club last week.
"Antonio has shown you can make it into the first team and that makes it clear there is a route to the highest level for a schoolboy at our club," added Gallen.
"He is a very good prospect - he's got enthusiasm, strength, pace and he's good in the air. It was a great decision by Mick Harford to put him in the first team.
"The Dean Parrett situation was different because QPR wanted to sell him and received a massive offer.
"No-one can say that we aren't producing players - holding on to them, it's true, is another matter."
TEENAGE forward Josh Parker is keen to end his loan spell with AFC Wimbledon and return to Loftus Road.
Parker joined the Dons on a three-month deal at the end of January, but has started only once and was omitted from the substitutes' bench altogether in recent games.