Ferguson reveals second thoughts over Shawcross departure

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he was tempted to keep Ryan Shawcross at Old Trafford, but was too late in his decision, The Stoke Sentinel reports. The Stoke City defender had already penned terms at the Britannia Stadium before Ferguson decided he wanted Shawcross at United.

Shawcross returned to Old Trafford on Tuesday and despite an impressive individual performance, he could not stop his former side winning 2-0. The Stoke defender has been one of the club’s most consistent performers, but did not get first-team opportunities at United. Shawcross moved in a £2m package in 2008 and the United boss revealed that he only let Shawcross go, because he had Gerard Pique on the books. Pique also moved on and has moulded into a superb defender for European champions Barcelona.

Ferguson said: ‘It always grieves me when I have to release a young player of great potential, and Shawcross certainly fell into that category. He had the misfortune – though he perhaps doesn’t see it that way considering the success he has had with Stoke – of coming through along with a number of other young defenders.’

‘This was the era of Gerard Pique and we kept him at Ryan’s expense, only I didn’t know that Gerard was growing homesick and soon after was telling us he wanted to go back to Spain. He has prospered with Barcelona as we know, and if I had known he wanted away then I would have kept Ryan Shawcross’, the United boss added.

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