Riyad Mahrez has divulged that he once fled a trial with St Mirren due to Scottish weather so bad it felt like “abuse”.
Leicester City star Mahrez has enjoyed a sensational 2015-16 season, with his 17 goals and 11 assists inspiring his side to the brink of Premier League glory and earning him the prestigious PFA Player of the Year award.
However, the Algeria international’s career has not always gone so smoothly – as he has explained in a revealing interview with L’Equipe.
“An agent, Jean Evina, told me he had trial for me in the Scottish First Division with St Mirren reserves,” said Mahrez.
“He paid for my ticket and I went with another guy from [Parisian suburb] Sarcelles, Dany Bekale.
“It went well. I played four friendlies and I scored seven goals – I killed them. And then they made me wait for two-and-a-half months.
“I’d had enough. It drove me crazy, Scotland. It was cold. It was abuse. It was snowing and everything. I was so cold that one day I faked an injury to go to the locker room.
“It was physical and it was cold and we trained in the snow. I felt that I progressed. I wasn’t allowed to go so I left in secret.
“Anyway, a few days later, my agent said: ‘Riyad, I’ve sent you a ticket, you take the bus right away, get off at Glasgow Station and you get on the train to the airport, then you take the flight to Paris’.
“I did not speak English at all. I left my boots at the training ground – I borrowed a bike from a guy from the hotel, I took my football trainers, I made my bag and I left without telling anyone, not even the lady at the hotel. I left via a staircase which avoided the reception.”
Mahrez eventually signed for Le Havre in France after a spell playing for amateur outfit Quimper.
The 25-year-old then joined Leicester for around £400,000 in January 2014 – and the rest, as they say, is history.
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