Le Tallec regrets mistake in leaving Liverpool

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.