Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Manchester United had to move quickly to beat off competition for teenage midfielder Nick Powell from their Barclays Premier League rivals.

United formally signed the 18-year-old from Crewe on July 1, but had put the deal in place some time earlier fearing a dazzling display in the League Two play-off final at Wembley might prompt other suitors to join to fight to sign him.

Ferguson told "We thought that if we waited until the play-offs, the secret would be out, so to speak. All the TV cameras would be focussed on him and it might alert a few other clubs."

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