Graeme Souness explains truth behind Premier League’s "worst ever player"

Graeme Souness has explained how he was forced to play the infamous Ali Dia for Southampton despite knowing he was "hopeless".

In a story that has since gone down in football folklore, Dia had earned himself a trial with the Saints back in 1996.

The forward had been offered the opportunity after pretending to be a relative of AC Milan's FIFA world player of the year George Weah, which was completely untrue.

Souness was in charge at The Dell, and is often reminded of the curious case of Dia, who he brought off the bench in a Premier League clash with Leeds in place of an injured Matt Le Tissier after 32 minutes.

"It's a great story, and it's a funny story. It's not quite what you read or hear," Souness recalled to Sky Sports .

"Someone got a call at the football club … George Weah's cousin or nephew was in England and looking to join a club. He wanted a trial. Matt [Le Tissier] will know at that time, we had such a small squad, and we had trialists in all the time.

"So this guy turns up, and anyone who's been involved in football, you know in the first five minutes of a game – even if it's a small five-a-side – if the boy can play or not.

"So, within the first five minutes on a Monday morning, we said he wasn't for us. He was hopeless.

"But we didn't have enough players to have an eight-a-side. So we kept him for a week, and as the week went on, we had more and more players that got injured.

"We were playing Leeds United on the Saturday, and Matt was our only fit forward. It's all Matt's fault because he only lasts for about 20 minutes! I was looking at the bench thinking, 'what could we do?'"

Dia signed a one-month contract with Southampton, but was released two weeks later.

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