Ireland happy with United snub
Man City's Stephen Ireland insists he has no regrets about turning down rivals Man United as a youngster.
Last Updated: 19/09/09 11:57am
Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland insists he has no regrets about turning down rivals Manchester United as a youngster.
Ireland spent a week with The Red Devils on trial at the tender age of 15, but felt his future did not lay at Old Trafford after quickly becoming disillusioned.
He was frequently changing training groups and was left confused with who to impress, although the final straw arrived when he received a personal snub from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ireland opted instead to join City where his career has flourished. The 23-year-old has gone on to make over 100 league appearances for the Eastlands club and is an integral part of Mark Hughes' team.
The Republic of Ireland playmaker is bemused at the number of youngsters who failed to make the grade at United and is pleased he was given a first-team chance at City rather than being loaned out to a lower league club.
"I didn't know where I stood at United," explained Ireland to the Daily Mirror. "I was there when I was 15, but I just didn't like it.
"Every day there I'd be training with a different bunch of kids. I didn't know who I was meant to be impressing, who my coaches were and I just felt all over the place.
"I only met Fergie once. I said 'hello' to him one day so he knew straight away I was Irish. He told me he has enough Irish players with Roy Keane and Denis Irwin, so I guess that was another hint for me to hit the road.
"I grew up supporting United so maybe my expectations were too high when I went there. But as soon as I can to City it felt right and I could see myself being where I am now.
"At United you see so many young players go out on loan, season after season, without making the first-team. I couldn't do that. I've always wanted to play first-team football and thankfully I've managed that at City."