In a separate interview with former Reds captain Gary Neville for LADbible TV, he elaborated, saying: “I think he was the best English player since Bobby Charlton. I think he was a fantastic player. Unfortunately, we didn’t get him and I think, looking back now, he made a big mistake. He recognised it himself years later. But we had Geordies in the camp. We had Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, even Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough.

“We had people there who would have taken care of him, particularly Bryan Robson who is fantastic with players. Instead, he goes to an island in London, and you’re easily swallowed up there as a young lad. I think that was a big mistake by him. ‘He was a marvellous player. I loved his strength.

“I said to [former chairman] Martin Edwards on the way home: ‘Sign this boy. Get on the phone to him on Monday.’ And, by that time, he had already done a deal with Tottenham, which was really unfortunate. That was a disappointment because he agreed to sign and then Tottenham changed his mind by buying his mother and father a house.”

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