UTD Podcast: Schmeichel's derby dilemma
Peter Schmeichel was relieved to have missed out on playing in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford while on the books at City.
That’s something we learn in the latest edition of UTD Podcast, which is available to listen to on Deezer and all your favourite podcast platforms from tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
In a revealing interview with hosts Helen Evans, David May and Alex Bruce, Peter talks about the mixed feelings he had during his season with the Blues and how a back issue prior to a Premier League clash between United and City in February 2003 saved him from a potentially awkward afternoon.
“The game here, luck struck me and I got an injury in the warm-up. I wasn't ducking out of it,” Schmeichel says.
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“I always had a back problem, and it popped up at times I didn't know it was popping up. I just felt that and I just knew from experience I shouldn’t play and I didn’t play this game.
“I don’t want to insult anyone from Man City but I’m quite happy I didn’t do that because I came here with Aston Villa [the previous season] and I have to say I did not enjoy it. It wasn’t nice.”
Of course, the subject of the rivalry is topical, after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of City in M16, but Schmeichel also brings up Wayne Rooney, who we reacquainted ourselves with at Derby County last week.
Our legendary former goalkeeper believes Wayne would have been going through similar emotions to the ones he felt when coming up against United and says it’s hard to shake the sense of belonging to the club, even after you’ve left.
“We’re talking the day after we played Derby in the FA Cup,” Schmeichel continues.
“I saw Wayne was trying really hard but I could just see in Wayne the same feelings that I felt.
“It's just not nice. I belong to the other team and I should never play against them.”
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The 56-year-old spent just one season at City prior to retiring, keeping up his proud unbeaten Manchester derby record as the Blues beat United 3-1 in our last-ever trip to Maine Road.
Despite admitting he found his return to Manchester ‘tough’, Schmeichel concedes he has no regrets about his decision, which was primarily based on working with then City boss Kevin Keegan to obtain his coaching badges.
“I don't think you can regret that kind of thing. Because of so many other things that were good about that. I could bring my kids back and they could finish school.
“I felt I landed precisely where I needed to be as a human being. I was born to live here. So in many ways I was coming home.
“Since United wasn’t an option I had the second best option at the time. It was a tough year and since I never went into management I can say in a way the basics for the decision never materialised in anything I could use going forward, but then again I learned so much.
“A lot of it not very good, some of it good and yeah, it's a weird one for me. It is.”
You can download the full Peter Schmeichel episode on Deezer, from Tuesday morning.
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