A former Liverpool academy coach has revealed that one of the players he coached at Melwood ‘hated’ the club so much that he refused to wear the Reds’ kit in training.
Karl Robinson was involved with the Merseyside giants prior to embarking on his senior managerial career, and one of those who he helped to develop through the underage ranks was Jordan Rossiter.
The former MK Dons, Charlton and Oxford manager told the I Had Trials Once podcast that such was the now 26-year-old’s loyalty to Everton that he had to be banned from wearing their colours while training with LFC.
Robinson said of the midfielder: “He was a massive Everton fan so we had to ban him from wearing an Everton kit in the gym, but he hated Liverpool so much that he would just wear Celtic kit instead because he couldn’t bear to put a Liverpool kit on.
“He refused to wear the Liverpool kit because he was such a big Everton fan and that isn’t uncommon because so many players in the Liverpool academy who were local would’ve been Everton fans.”
The 42-year-old added: “I’m sure it would have been the same at Everton’s academy where they would have had lads who were massive Liverpool fans.”
Even if Rossiter might’ve earned a reprimand from Robinson and the other coaches over his choice of kit in Liverpool training as a boy, he still had the talent and application to rise through the ranks and make five first-team appearances, three of which came in the Europa League (Transfermarkt).
He even had the distinction of becoming the Reds’ second-youngest scorer of all time when netting in a League Cup clash against Middlesbrough in 2014 at the tender age of 17 years and six months, although Ben Woodburn and Kaide Gordon have since pushed him into fourth place on that list (lfchistory.net).
He now plays with Bristol Rovers in League One, seven years on from his departure from Anfield.
It’s far from uncommon for boyhood Everton fans to later play for Liverpool – Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, Ian Rush and Adam Lallana all feature under both categories. Trying to wear blue rather than red at Melwood is quite the bold statement, though!
To give Rossiter due credit, he was able to put his passionate loyalties to one side for the betterment of his career, in the process creating his own morsel of LFC history and doing enough to sustain a prolonged spell in the professional game which continues to this day.