Football is never the same after leaving Manchester United, according to Red Devils legend Andy Cole.
Cole wound back the years for a game against the Real Madrid Legends at Old Trafford on Sunday – 12 years on from his departure to Blackburn Rovers.
And the ex-striker admits he was too quick to leave the club in search of a place in England’s World Cup 2002 squad.
“[Sir Alex] told me that I didn’t have to go, he didn’t want me to go,” Cole told manutd.com. “I could have stayed for as long as I could and I would get my games.
“In the end, he just said ‘Okay, I understand and I know what you are like, I will let you go’. The crazy thing is that he sold me for £7million, which is more than what he paid for me – he got me for £6m.
“So I remember that last meeting with him like it was yesterday.
“I really enjoyed my time but I left far too early. That is my only regret. I could have stayed at the football club for a lot longer and, looking back, I wish I had.”
After a three-year stint at Blackburn, Cole became something of a journeyman with brief appearances at seven teams teams including Fulham, Portsmouth and Manchester City.
And Cole believes if his younger self had learned to be more patient, his trophy cabinet would be far fuller than it stands today.
“Just because you have won everything, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to win it again,” the Treble-winner explained.
“If I was what I am now – more relaxed and calculated in what I want to do – I would have thought about it and realised I would have played games and still be involved in 20 to 25 games a season and win a hell of a lot more, but it wasn’t to be.”
Image courtesy of Talksport, via YouTube, with thanks.