Kilmarnock's George Green has 'matured' since Wayne Rooney comparison

Kilmarnock midfielder George Green
George Green is enjoying his early days at Kilmarnock

George Green has gone from comparisons with Wayne Rooney to the depths of despair and the eighth tier of English football but thinks Kilmarnock can help him finally reach the top.

The 20-year-old midfielder joined the Scottish Premiership club last week on a six-month loan deal from Burnley.

"I want to play Premier League," he said. "I want to play for my country.

"Those are the two main goals everyone looks at when playing football and I think I can do it."

Having come through the youth ranks with his local club, Bradford City, Green was sold to Everton at the age of 15 for a fee that could have reportedly risen to £2m.

He is on record as admitting that the high wages went to his head and, three years later, a loan spell with Tranmere Rovers and transfer to Oldham Athletic included, he decided to go back to his roots and play for Ossett Albion in the Northern League.

"I've gone from having so much to having so little," said Green. "I needed that realisation in my life.

"It slapped me right round the face and taught me a lesson in life.

George Green holds off Kevin Stewart of Liverpool Under-21s with Everton
Green admits he found it hard to cope with comparisons with Wayne Rooney at Everton

"It has taken time, more than it might some other people, but I have matured."

Green admits comparisons with Paul Gascoigne and Rooney were difficult to handle as a teenager.

"It was at the time, but people have to understand that your Wayne Rooneys, Gascoignes, they are one in a million and unfortunately I didn't turn out to be that one in a million," the former England Under-18 international admitted.

"But it doesn't mean I can't still be a very good player and reach a potential that I know I can.

"I've put it right behind me now and started a new page in my career. I've got a little girl now and settled down and I know where my head's at.

"I let my feet do the talking and don't let my emotions get the best of me. It still does sometimes, but I'm learning to curb that and, if I can keep the negativity out of my life, you do feel it on the pitch."

Green grabbed his second chance of the big time when he impressed on trial with Burnley in January, the club who would eventually win the Championship title handing him an initial six-month contract.

"I've still not got back up to where I want to be yet, so I'm still in that progress stage, but I know for a fact I'm going to get back there," he said.

"There's a long way to go, but I know I can do it."

George Green holds off Shrewsbury Town's Mark Ellis with Oldham Athletic
Green (left) terminated his two-year contract with Oldham after five months

Green, who made his debut in last weekend's 2-1 win over Hamilton Academical, was joined at Rugby Park on Friday by Burnley team-mate Luke Hendrie, the right-back also joining on loan until January.

"He was at Bradford with me when I was 15 and his dad was my coach when I was at Bradford as well," said Green.

"Obviously, we took different paths. He went to Manchester United and I went to Everton and we've met in the middle again."

Green said he would not rule out a permanent move to Kilmarnock but insists his goal is a breakthrough into Burnley's first team.

"It's not under-21 football," he said of Scotland's top flight. "It's competitive, men's football, which is something I need to progress in my career.

"Lee Clark is a great coach and I love working under him.

"But I want to do well here and get into Burnley's Premier League squad."

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