Anthony Le Tallec believes he could have emulated the feats of Fernando Torres or Carlos Tevez had he not wasted the opportunity he had as a young striker at Liverpool, he said on Friday.
Le Tallec, now 28, moved to Liverpool, under French compatriot Gerard Houllier, from Le Havre when he was still a teenager in 2001 after excellent performances for France's Under-17 World Cup winning team.
But he told sports daily L'Equipe that he regretted having asked the then-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez to leave the club in 2004 when he was still only 20.
He now plays for Valenciennes in France's Ligue 1 but explained why it did not work out in England when he was younger.
"I had an agent who kept telling me Saint-Etienne wanted me. Benitez was recruiting Spanish players. I told myself I would not have my chance.
"It hurts when, after Liverpool, you play in smaller clubs. I did not realise that I was in a great club. I have regrets. When I see Torres, Tevez, who are of the same generation, I say to myself 's***'.
"My agent tells me: 'Torres stole your career!," he added, laughing.
"I'm not jealous but I say to myself that I could have done like him."
While on Liverpool's books he was loaned to Saint-Etienne, Sunderland, Sochaux and Le Mans, signing a permanent deal with Le Mans in 2008 before moving to AJ Auxerre in 2010 and Valenciennes this season.
He has scored five goals from seven Ligue 1 appearances with Valenciennes, who are sixth in the standings ahead of Friday's trip to Saint-Etienne.comments