England cricketer Sam Billings, when 14-years-old, was offered a trial by Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur but he turned down those advancements and chose a career in cricket instead.
Sam Billings, now an established cricketer, had shown a great interest in sports in his childhood and was quite the all-rounder. This interest led him to a stage where he had to choose between two sports to make a career in and though his decision to pick up cricket seems the right one in hindsight, it would have been a difficult choice to make as a 14-year-old when one of the top football clubs in the country came calling.
Scored hat-trick against Tottenham youth side
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who has represented England in 15 One-Day Internationals and 18 Twenty20s so far, played as a centre attacking midfielder back in the day. He caught Tottenham’s attention after he scored a hat-trick against them while featuring for his local side Corinthian.
Billings was then called for a trial, however, he turned down the offer as he was on a tour of West Indies with the South of England under-14 cricket team.
“I dabbled in a bit of football back in the day,” he said in an interview back in 2015.
“I’d like to say I played centre attacking midfield but that’s generous. I was up front, a show pony. I scored a hat-trick against Tottenham Academy and managed to get a trial, but I didn’t go because I was on tour in Barbados with South of England Under-14s.
“Cricket was always going to be the only sport I was going to play to a professional level. That was my first passion.”
Billings’ inclination towards sports can be attributed to his family as well. His grandfather was a champion in the game of racquets and cousin Tom Billings is the world number 3 in the same sport. He has also stated that his development as a cricketer has a lot to do with playing racquets from a young age as it has helped him improve his hand-eye coordination.