Wenger admits he made "mistake" on World Cup hero who almost quit to be teacher

Arsene Wenger was once forced to admit that he made a "mistake" after turning down the opportunity to sign Australian World Cup hero Andrew Redmayne.

Redmayne entered Australian football folklore on Monday with his hijinks in the penalty shootout between his country and Peru forcing Alex Valera to miss the crucial spot-kick. As a result, the Socceroos will be heading to Qatar this winter for the world's premier football tournament.

But this is not the first time that the goalkeeper has caught the eye, having previously been hailed by Wenger following a friendly between Arsenal and Sydney. Redmayne had put in a man of the match performance against the Gunners, earning the praise of Wenger.

The Frenchman was caught by surprise though when journalists at his press conference revealed that he had in fact been on trial at Arsenal 12 years before. He spent a fortnight with the Gunners, but they opted to sign a 15-year-old Wojciech Szczesny instead.

With revenge on his mind, he put in a brilliant performance in the 2017 friendly, even saving Danny Welbeck's penalty. That led Wenger to admit that he had made an error by not signing up the Australian keeper when he had the chance.

"At the end of the day I would say their goalkeeper was man of the match tonight. I don't remember, I must say it's been such a long time that I've been at Arsenal that I don't remember all the trialists. But if he was with us, we made a mistake," Wenger said.

Remarkably, Redmayne also almost gave up his football career completely just a year before earning Wenger's praise. After five years of being an A-League journeyman, his confidence was at an all-time low, so much so that he was ready to focus on his studies to become a primary school teacher.

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"I consider myself a really hard worker and I was still working extremely hard but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I was going through the motions and it wasn’t sitting right with me," Redmayne told the Fox Football podcast in 2017.

"I was almost ready to retire, ready to walk away from the game. I was going to see out the length of my contract at the Wanderers and then just pour coffees and continue with my studies and that was going to be it."

Thankfully for Australia, Redmayne would be handed a lifeline by Sydney FC and he went on to win three championships with the club. His performances earned him a call-up for Australia's play-off campaign and his heroics mean that the Socceroos will be heading to their fifth successive World Cup.

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