We all love Gary Breen. The Irish hero is a subject of one of the greatest songs in Irish football history. He seemed like one of greatest unsung heroes that Ireland has ever produced and he would never be fully appreciated outside of Ireland.
How wrong we were.
Apparently, Inter Milan weren't put off by Robbie Keane's spell in Serie A and wanted to bring Gary Breen to the San Siro. It was right after the World Cup, with Breen's stellar showings against Germany and Spain, and Inter were very keen, via Sunday Times
People say “Inter? What?” But I had been playing in the Premier League for five or six years and had gone to the World Cup and played reasonably well and caught somebody's eye. And I was coming on a free. It was just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which presented itself.
Inter had first noticed Breen when he was with Coventry when they were scouting Keane and he clearly made an impression. The World Cup performances just sealed the deal in their mind.
So if Inter wanted him, and Breen wanted to go, what happened? Apparently a problem with Breen's knee caused the Italian side to pull out of the deal. Breen ended up going to West Ham, where he had a poor season-long stay before joining Mick McCarthy in Sunderland.
Breen does still think about the chance of moving to Milan with some regrets:
West Ham was a great club, with great supporters but looking back I just couldn’t shake off the disappointment. I could have gone to Inter and been way out of my depth but my mindset was ‘I am playing really well. I am ready for this. Let’s go for it’. I was 28 years of age. I wanted to learn the language and stuff like that. It doesn’t go out of your head.
You can't help but feel for the guy. Gary Breen - what could have been.
See Also: 11 Reasons Why A Team Of Gary Breens Would Actually Be The Greatest Side Of All Time
Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE