Sir Alex Ferguson phoned me every week to check I was going to school but I still snubbed Man United

Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry has revealed former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him as a youngster.

Terry spent a combined total of 22 years on Chelsea’s books, joining them at the age of 14 in 1995. Making 717 appearances for the club at first-team level, the former centre-back, who won 17 major trophies during that period, will go down in history as one of the club’s all-time greats.

However, the now-43-year-old, who joined Chelsea’s academy from West Ham United, has revealed that things could have worked out differently had Ferguson had his way. The legendary Scot, during Terry’s youth, used to ring the former centre-back’s family home every week to check on his progress.

United, according to Terry, ‘rolled out the red carpet’ in a bid to sign him, but Chelsea was where the former Aston Villa defender felt he belonged. After joining the club’s youth ranks in 1995, he made his first-team debut three years later in 1998.

“I was in the West Ham academy for two or three years and one night we found out our coach had left, so I told my dad that I didn’t want to go back,” Terry told William Hill’s podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan. “Then I went to Arsenal for a year and at that time I was floating between Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.

“Arsenal and United both rolled out the red carpet for me, but Chelsea didn’t do anything. I had Sir Alex Ferguson phoning my house every week to speak to me and my dad, checking that I was going to school and training correctly.

“Even with all that, when I walked into Chelsea I just knew it was the right club for me. I felt like it was my home, like when you walk into a house and just feel you belong there for the next 20 years.

“I was leaving school at 4:30pm to get to Chelsea at seven o’clock, then wouldn’t get home until 11:30pm – I did that for a couple of years by myself. I absolutely loved it and I fell in love with Chelsea.”

Terry admits he owes his career to Jose Mourinho, who guided Chelsea – with Terry as skipper – to three Premier League titles. The former England captain still has a lot of time for his old boss, and has defended Mourinho’s record since leaving Chelsea a second time in 2015 and in particular his spell at Old Trafford, when he won the Europa League and the League Cup.

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