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Essien: I Should Have Gone To Manchester United


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Manchester United fan Michael Essien has admitted that he came very close to signing for them eight years ago. But since the club rejected him, all he now wants is Premier League revenge with current club Chelsea

Chelsea star Michael Essien has revealed in an inteview just how close he came to becoming a Manchester United player as a youngster.

The Ghanaian, 25, was a Red Devils fan as a boy, idolising the likes of Roy Keane, and thought his chance had come when he was invited for a trial at Old Trafford when he was 17.

But since it didn't work out, the former Lyon man says nothing would please him more than Chelsea pipping United to this season's Premier League title.

Destined For Football

Talking about his upbringing, Essien revealed that football has always been in his blood. “I grew up in Accra in the city and I was the only boy in a family of four girls," the Chelsea star told The Sun.

"That was difficult enough but my dad used to be a footballer and always encouraged me to just concentrate on that. All I wanted to do was play and, although we were poor, I used to kick an old ball around in the street with my friends.

Wanted By United

"I started taking it seriously at about nine years old," continued Essien. "But my career really took off when I came home from the Under-17 World Cup. Suddenly lots of clubs were interested in me.

"I had always dreamed of playing in Europe and, as a boy, my team were Manchester United. When they offered me a one-week trial I just couldn’t believe it, I was so happy," he exclaimed.

Nevertheless, Essien admits that the experience in Manchester was more than a little intimidating "I remember being there and thinking ‘Wow, this is the biggest club in the world’. I never had the courage to speak to any of the big players.

"I never even trained with the first-team squad, but I did train with the youth team and Kieran Richardson was there at the time. Now I play against some of the same names that were there, like Ryan Giggs. They probably don’t even remember that I was there on trial.”

United's Loss, Chelsea's Gain

As we all know, the Ghanaian's path ultimately not lead to Old Trafford but to Stamford Bridge via France. The dream of playing alongside his hero Roy Keane never materialised. "I just loved the way he used to play, his attitude and commitment," enthused Essien of the now Sunderland manager.

"I still try to play like him now and maybe people compare us as I play a similar holding role in midfield as he used to. At the end of the trial, the club said they really liked me and wanted to sign me. But they could not sort out a work permit and the move never happened," continued Essien. "Instead, I ended up joining Bastia in France before moving to Lyon and then Chelsea."

Indeed, it took a gigantic bid of nearly €40m to prize the midfield talent away from the French champions. Essien has no regrets about how things turned out, but wonders if United rue their missed opportunity. “I’m not sure what Alex Ferguson would say about it now," he said. "Today I could move there no problem because I have the right documents. But I’ll never go there because I am so happy at Chelsea. Now I’m a Chelsea fan through and through. Right now I am just happy I chose the right club and hope I can go on and make United pay by winning lots of trophies.”

African Cup Of Nations

Essien was speaking at Ghana's training camp in Dubai as the national side prepare for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, which they will host. The midfielder is looking forward to the tourament, but admits that tearing himself away from a Premier League season in full swing wasn't easy.

“It’s difficult leaving the team right now because it is a difficult period of the season," he said. "We might not win the title now but you can definitely lose it if you slip, so it’s not ideal. But I’m positive we have the quality in our squad to pull through. I still believe we have a great chance of winning the title.

"We are still in the hunt for four trophies, so things are going well right now. We had a lot of injuries before and now other players are leaving for the African Nations Cup. Yet still we keep on winning. I think this year the title will go down to the very end and I’m sure we can do it. I keep calling my team-mates to find out how they are doing. They got a good result against Everton and I spoke to Shaun Wright-Phillips after the game.

"But it’s hard at the moment because I am trying my best to concentrate on the African Nations Cup. I think Ghana can win it but it will be tough because there is so much expectation and pressure to deliver. Didier (Drogba) and Salomon Kalou both wind me up saying Ivory Coast will win. But, at home in front of our own fans, I am sure we will give it everything.”

It sounds like essien is going to be a blue for a while :D

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i was worried when i saw the thread title. I completely got the wrong end of the stick lol. i was expecting some crap like "i wish i had gone to man utd instead of Chelsea" lol. Well its a good job he didnt go to those manc scummers because hes better than carrick and hargreaves put together and they would be complete with him. He's been brilliant for us since he signed. 100% commitment every game.

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