Inchy: 'Glen Little was destined for the Premier League'

He only made 12 appearances under his management.

Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 3:45 pm
Glen Little of Burnley celebrates during the Nationwide Division 2 Match against Scunthorpe at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, England. Burnley won 2-1. \ Photo by Mike Finn-Kelcey \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

But it was enough to convince Adrian Heath that Glen Little would play in the Premier League.

Heath signed the gifted wideman from Glentoran for £100,000 in November 1996, and from his first training session, knew he had a big talent on his hands.

Little would spent seven and a half seasons with the club, before moving to Reading and Portsmouth, where he got his chance in the top flight.

Adrian Heath

He only played 35 Premier League games in total - four on loan at Bolton in 2003, 26 with the Royals and five with Pompey - where he also enjoyed a memorable night up against Paolo Maldini and AC Milan in the UEFA Cup at Fratton Park.

However, he finished a Clarets legend, making 282 appearances, and Heath couldn't believe his luck when he got the chance to bring him to Turf Moor.

He recalled: "I always tell this story, I remember Glen coming on trial with us at Burnley, and the weather was that bad, it was snowing at the time and we couldn't get outside to train.

"We went into the gym behind the Longside, and I couldn't believe what I saw the first two days.

"I called him in, and said 'what's happened? You're either on drugs, up for murder or on the run, because someone with your talent, shouldn't be coming on trial from an Irish club'.

"He explained the story, he'd been at Crystal Palace and didn't think they even realised he was on their books.

"We took him, and within a very short period of time, I remember ringing Peter Reid and people I knew working at clubs in and around the Premier League saying 'listen, I've got a kid here who I think can play in the Premier League'.

"When he moved on eventually to Reading, and did what he did, it didn't surprise me.

"I was always surprised one of the bigger clubs, with respect to Reading, didn't have a dabble.

"Glen was, I can't tell you, he was a real talent."

When Heath left for Everton in the summer of 1997, Chris Waddle left Little out of the side for half a season, his assistant Glenn Roeder even infamously explaining why at a fans' forum, that he wasn't fit to lace Waddle's boots.

Asked where Little was, I recall Roeder joking: "He's at home watching Eastenders!"

Heath added: "I always felt that was strange, if you listen to Glen, he tells stories of Chris telling him he wasn't very good, and I used to say it wasn't an opinion I could agree with based on what I'd seen.

"You only had to watch the kid play.

"I remember they ended up turning the corner after Glen got back in the team and they started to win games, so that didn't surprise me, he was really talented."