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Danny Cipriani on potential career in football, playing Harry Kane and training with Tottenham

Rugby star and former England international Danny Cipriani revealed that ‘fear’ of not being accepted back into rugby prevented him from making a transition into professional football.

The 35-year-old represented the likes of Wasps, Bath, Sale and Gloucester during his career in rugby union. Cipriani also went on to make 16 appearances for England between 2008 and 2018.

The fly-half recently released his autobiography ‘Who Am I?’ and his name has subsequently hit a number of headlines.

Danny Cipriani, speaking on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast, revealed how he ended up dipping his toe in the world of professional football.

Between his time at Wasps and Melbourne Rebels, the player spent time with QPR, Tottenham Hotspur, Colorado Rapids and MK Dons.

He said: “I had 5 months off rugby in between going to Australia, because I had signed over there and at that point, I just thought I don’t want to see a rugby ball, I’m done with it. 

“I wanted to freshen my mind, but I wanted to stay fit, and my physio treated Jamie Redknapp, so he said come to Tottenham.

“So, I went to Tottenham for 6 weeks and because of the squad they had – I was always a striker – but the squad I was training with, left back was the easiest place to fill in. 

“If we’d play small-sided games, my touch, and my ability, all that stuff I loved, but positionally I had to pick up quickly.

“I played against West Ham and I took out Frank Nouble because I would find myself out position. But if you play the ball to me under pressure with my back to goal, I’m good! Playing at left back for me was so alien.

“I went to Spain with the Tottenham reserves – Harry Kane was playing, Nathan Burn, Ryan Fredericks, Jake Nicholson, all these boys. 

“I played against Valencia and Malaga, and then I went to QPR for two weeks and I had the bug. I played left back at both places, but they play so many small-sided games, you don’t really do much 11 on 11 in professional training in football, or certainly not then in pre-season.

“So, I then went to MK Dons with Karl Robinson and I was there for a week. After my first session I said, ‘No, I’m a striker. I’m not playing left back anymore’.

“So, in my first session I went and did a few bits and at the end of that week they offered me a deal to play at MK Dons and I had to weigh up whether to go to Australia or go to MK Dons.”

Cipriani believes he could’ve built a successful career in football. Despite this, the player ended up travelling to Australian and joining up with the Melbourne Rebels where he made 19 appearances and chipped in with over 120 points.

He added: “I’d think that mentally this sport doesn’t get me in rugby, but what if I play for a year and never get back? So, I had a bit of fear in me if it didn’t work out that I’d never get accepted back in rugby.

“In a different lifetime, I’m sure I make that switch. If I had gone into football, I’m sure I would have loved every moment of it. I felt like I would have made it. 

“For me, I feel if I had played a year up top, speed-wise I could out-pace them, and I had 7 years of weight training so physically I was also holding up the ball pretty well, both-footed – left footed predominantly. But I don’t see how with my application and my desire; I felt like I would have made it at whatever level.”
 

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