Thorsten Stuckmann has been speaking to Germany’s Rheinische Post about his career and how he almost became a Leeds United player.
Back when Simon Grayson was manager of Leeds, Stuckmann was invited to train at Thorp Arch, with a view to the goalkeeper signing a deal. Things didn’t go down that path in the end, and Stuckmann, who had been recovering from injury, was unable to impress those in charge enough and ultimately didn’t get the contract he was looking for.
Stuckmann explained: “At Leeds, I started training two months after an injury, which was definitely too early. Strangely enough, the coach who didn’t want me in Leeds later became my coach in Preston. I then worked very successfully with him.”
Grayson decided Stuckmann was what he needed at Preston North End rather than Leeds, and the German goalkeeper has conceded that as well as injury, Kasper Schmeichel being at Elland Road may have played a part.
The German newspaper wanted to know if Stuckmann and his Preston manager ever spoke about the Leeds rejection: “We actually talked about it a few times. But sometimes there are such situations in football. They didn’t know me then, and as a foreigner it’s generally more difficult in the beginning. However, it must also be said that Leeds at the time, in Kasper Schmeichel, didn’t have a bad option between the posts.”
Given it all worked out well, Stuckmann was asked if Leeds rejection was actually a stroke of luck: “Definitely. I was in Preston almost four years, a very formative time, also for my family. In addition, I had a goalkeeping coach in Alan Kelly who came very close to my philosophy for goalkeeping and was very inspiring.”