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Chelsea No2 Wilkins: Hughes emergence turned Man Utd into super team

Chelsea assistant boss Ray Wilkins has recalled the first time he saw Manchester City boss Mark Hughes running around for Manchester United.

Wilkins was in his final seasons at Manchester United just as a young Welsh striker was breaking into the team, and he made an instant impression.

"We used to go and watch the FA Youth Cup games and we used to have Norman Whiteside and Mark Hughes playing up front in that youth team, which was quite awesome," Wilkins told

"Mark is exactly the same now as he was when he was 16 or 17 in that he had this burning desire to win. He has carried it right through his career.

"On the field even then you could see that he had a leader in him, always cajoling players and wanting players to do better, and he was already a huge guy with big thighs. He could always hold the ball up exceptionally well and he was an exceptional finisher."

Hughes, incidentally a schoolboy Chelsea fan, had converted from a midfielder to a forward in the Man United youth team and made his first team debut in November 1983.

"We had Frank Stapleton and then after that it seemed to go into a bit of a lull up front," says Wilkins who left Old Trafford for Italy in the summer of 1984.

"But then Mark came in and transformed it once again into a super side. They were lacking someone who could really get hold of the ball and he was the guy that could do so.

"He was a wonderful footballer and just a good guy as well and when you see him now, speaking before and after games, he comes across as a good guy."

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