Former United striker regrets leaving OT

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Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has revealed he wished he’s stayed with the club in 2001, rather than heading elsewhere in the hopes of getting maximum game time.

“Roy Keane told me to stay and said the only way was down,” Cole said.

“The [Manchester United] manager told me he wanted me to stay. I left to play every week and get into the England squad for the 2002 World Cup.


“I was wrong to leave – and I didn’t play in the World Cup.”

Cole left United in December 2001 for Blackburn for £8 million, and the striker scored 27 goals in 83 appearances for Rovers.

But the fit obviously wasn’t right for Cole, and after three years he left and played for seven more clubs before the former United man retired in 2008.

Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he hopes current forwards Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez can replicate Cole and striking partner Dwight Yorke this season, with the two scoring 53 goals between them in the 1999 treble season.

“Yorke and Cole scored 53 goals between them. It was exceptional because Yorkie had just joined us,” Ferguson said. “It was unbelievable. I think he was one of the best in Europe that year.

“He and Andy hit it off. I hope Rooney and Javier can get 53 goals, too.

“When Hernandez came into the side on a regular basis last season, the goal threat was immense.

“I really do expect him to score 25 to be honest. And Wayne has had a great start to the season as well.”

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