Young: I did not want to go anywhere else
In the latest edition of UTD Podcast, Manchester United captain Ashley Young reveals how he didn't even have to think about signing for the Reds back in 2011.
The 34-year-old spoke to Sam Homewood in this week’s episode of our official podcast, which is available to listen to on Deezer and other podcast providers from tomorrow (Tuesday).
As well as guiding us through his early career at Watford and Aston Villa, our no. 18 sheds some light on how his move to Old Trafford came about.
“He said Liverpool. We’d already spoken to City. Then he said United had come in. And I said ‘when am I meeting Sir Alex? Where’s the pen?’ There was no other place I wanted to go."
“I spoke to the [Aston Villa] chairman Randy Lerner, at the time, and he was desperate for me not to leave,” said Young.
“I wanted to leave in 2010. We’d spoken when I first came and [the goal] was to break into the top four. We weren’t able to do it and we were like it’s not happening, things were starting to tail off.
“Randy had been there for me from the start and I felt I did owe him, so I stayed for the extra year.”
Young had been an integral part of the Villa side that reached the League Cup final, losing to United at Wembley in 2010, and was named in two consecutive PFA Teams of the Year, in 2008 and 2009.
As they became aware of his availability, various clubs started to scramble for his signature, but one in particular stood out.
“My agent called me and said: ‘Listen, you’re going into the last year of your contract, there are a few teams that are in for you,’” adds the England international.
“He said Liverpool. We’d already spoken to [Manchester] City. Then he said United had come in. And I said: ‘When am I meeting Sir Alex? Where’s the pen?’ There was no other place I wanted to go.
“The history of the club, the players that were here, what they’d achieved. For me, that was the place I wanted to be. I wanted to go there and put my marker down on this club and play for the biggest club, for me, in the world. As soon as my agent said that... we didn’t even meet Liverpool!”
“Sir Alex challenged me and said you either sink or swim. That’s basically what it is, you’re going to be challenged every day. And that’s what I wanted. Ultimately it was down to me to make the decision and as soon as I could sign here, I wanted to sign.”
A conversation with Sir Alex in the summer of 2011 only served to strengthen Young’s desire to join the then-champions.
“I always remember the meeting with Sir Alex in London. I think it was probably a two-hour meeting. Ten minutes of that, we spoke about football, the rest was about horses and wine! It was one of them where the boss has just got that aura.
“He challenged me and said you either sink or swim. That’s basically what it is, you’re going to be challenged every day. And that’s what I wanted. Ultimately, it was down to me to make the decision and as soon as I could sign here, I wanted to sign.”
You can listen to Young's UTD Podcast , as well as other previous episodes, on Deezer and all of your favourite podcast apps.