Stephen Ireland claims his former manager at Aston Villa, Alex McLeish, promised to speak to Alex Ferguson about a transfer to Manchester United.
Ireland, who established himself in five fine years at Manchester City, moved to Villa in 2010 and made an instant impression on McLeish, who tipped the midfielder to reach the very top.
But following the appointment of Gerard Houllier at Villa, Ireland saw his stock fall drastically, joining Stoke in 2013 then Bolton five years later.
Now without a club, he claims that former Scotland manager McLeish was so impressed with him that he would ‘ring Sir Alex’ because he was “jeopardising” his own plans.
“Alex McLeish was such a nice guy, a kind of father figure,” he told The Athletic.
“He said to me: ‘I don’t know what to do with you. I want to kick the balls in the channel and chase them but you’re too good to be here. You’re jeopardising the team because they’re not on the same wavelength as you.’
“Honestly, he said to me, ‘I’ll ring Sir Alex about you’. I said, ‘F***ing hell, please do, please.’”
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