Liverpool defender names Chelsea legend as football idol

Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne reveals his footballing inspiration was Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola

Nathaniel Clyne has revealed that Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola was his childhood footballing idol.

The England international completed an £11.5m move to Liverpool from Southampton in the summer transfer window after having impressed at St Mary’s over the past three seasons.

I used to like Gianfranco Zola. He was a top player. I liked him because he was small and I was small

Nathaniel Clyne

However, Clyne initially started his career as a striker despite since blossoming into an England regular at full-back over the past couple of seasons.

And the 24-year-old defender revealed Chelsea magician Zola was his inspiration as a youngster, before moving back the pitch.

“Ideally I wanted to be a striker. I liked playing up front and scoring goals.” Clyne told Liverpool’s website.

“But I always had this hunger in me to run after people and get the ball back and I was really good at it so they decided I was better off as a defender.

“Back in the day I used to like Gianfranco Zola. He was a top player. I liked him because he was small and I was small. I’m still small now.”

Clyne has formed part of a Liverpool defence that have kept three clean sheets in their opening four Premier League games before a 3-0 loss to West Ham United last weekend.

Liverpool make the trip to top-four rivals Manchester United in their next Premier League game at Old Trafford next Saturday.

MORE: Read the latest Liverpool player tweets

The Reds have won two games, drawn once and suffered one loss in their opening four league games of the season.

Paul Merson
Paul Merson predicts the winner of Chelsea FC v Man City
Jurgen Klopp
Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Brentford v Liverpool FC
Thomas Tuchel
Shaun Wright-Phillips predicts where Chelsea FC and Man City will finish
Paul Merson
Paul Merson discusses his prediction for Man United v Aston Villa
Marcelo Bielsa
Paul Merson explains his prediction for Leeds United v West Ham United
Paul Merson
Paul Merson predicts the winner of Chelsea FC v Man City
Jurgen Klopp
Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Brentford v Liverpool FC
Thomas Tuchel
Shaun Wright-Phillips predicts where Chelsea FC and Man City will finish
Paul Merson
Paul Merson discusses his prediction for Man United v Aston Villa
Marcelo Bielsa
Paul Merson explains his prediction for Leeds United v West Ham United
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature