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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eagels joins Burnley after Ferguson's advice

Chris Eagles revealed Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson persuaded him to quit the European champions and join Coca-Cola Championship outfit Burnley.

The 22-year-old has signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee believed to be in excess of £1million after finally admitting defeat in his fight to become a first-team regular at Old Trafford.

Eagles joined the Red Devils at the age of 14 and despite being prominent in their pre-season campaign - scoring against Kaizer Chiefs and Portsmouth on their tour of Africa - he accepted his future lies elsewhere.

'I spoke to Sir Alex a lot about it because he's looked after me since I was 14,' said Eagles, who spent time on loan at Watford, Sheffield Wednesday and Dutch outfit NEC Nijmegen in recent seasons.

'He told my mum and dad he was going to look after me and he did.

'He said it's going to be a big decision but he believes that with the talent I've got I need to go and play.

'It's no good me sitting in the stands.

'United need to win every game and they're not going to play someone who hasn't been playing regularly.'

Eagles spent United's tour of Africa agonising over the move but he knew he was in a 'comfort zone' as a fringe member of the club's first-team set-up.

'People don't realise that a decision like this bangs at your head and you need to just get it signed and sealed,' said Eagles after becoming Burnley's sixth summer signing.

'But I don't need to move here - I can still live in Manchester - and I think altogether the whole package was very good.

'I was in a comfort zone because I had been there since the age of 14.

'It was a hard move to leave a club where I knew everyone from the cleaner to the manager.

'It's a big step but I believe it's a step in the right direction. I was very impressed with Owen Coyle (Burnley manager) and am just looking forward to playing regularly.'

Eagles insisted his decision to leave United was in no way related to Cristiano Ronaldo's apparent failure to secure his dream move to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo's departure may have paved the way for Eagles to make his mark, but the winger said: 'It may have done but you just don't really know.

'I need to concentrate on myself and I don't need to worry about whether someone is leaving.

'He's a great player and I wish him all the best whatever he does.'