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Riyad Mahrez: I learnt my game on the streets

FFT spent our youth setting off car alarms with stray footballs, which only attracted the neighbourhood watch rather than top-flight scouts.

But for wing wonder Riyad Mahrez, though, the streets served as an ideal training ground for honing his dribbling skills and lighting his creative spark.

The 25-year-old trickster was initially ignored by academies in France during his teenage years and had to wait until he was 18 before he was offered a trial with a professional club.

But Mahrez, named PFA Player of the Year earlier in 2016 after winning the Premier League title with Leicester City last season, believes that his street education may have been a blessing in disguise.

“Maybe not joining an academy was a big advantage,” he told FFT. “When you come from the streets you don’t care, you just play for fun. I think you’re at your best when you play for fun, when you just enjoy football and show your quality.”

Though Mahrez did graduate from street school, he does admit he did have difficulty getting the better of one central defender last term.

“John Terry was very tough,” he added. “He has experience, he’s played in the Premier League for 10 years now, he’s seen all the players, all the big players, so now, with more experience, he knows how to deal with them."

Just leave JT to us, Riyad. We’d nail him at headers and volleys. 

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