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Wolves striker Ebanks-Blake: I wouldn't be here without Man Utd

New Wolves signing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake credits his success in the Championship to his time at Manchester United.

The striker told the Sunday Mercury: "I remember when I was first picked up by Manchester United and signed a three-year scholarship. It was unbelievable, I was really chuffed and everyone was so pleased for me.

"It was a big challenge to leave home and try and make a career but I settled into some digs with a nice family, whom I still see and stay in contact with. On the football side it also went well and I think what happened there gave me the opportunity to be where I am now."

There were plenty of highs and lows during his four years at United, from that Youth Cup triumph to breaking his leg and then returning to score his one and only senior goal in a Carling Cup win against Barnet.

Throw in the opportunity to train with world-class players, and Ferguson's decision to impose the sell-on clause, and Ebanks-Blake's reflections on life at one of the biggest clubs in the world are overwhelmingly positive.

"The broken leg was a setback because at the time I was really flying," he recalls. "But you have to overcome challenges like that in football and I came back strong.

"I also spent a few months on loan with Antwerp in Belgium, which was another challenge. Living in a hotel in a foreign country could be difficult at times but there were five of us there together which certainly helped.

"The team were really struggling and we were all sent over to try and save them. Eventually we almost sneaked into the play-offs. It was good experience to play abroad at such a young age, just as it was always great experience to train with the top players at United.

"Rio Ferdinand was one who gave sound advice, Ruud and Ole were the same and Paul Scholes was an unbelievable trainer. You just couldn't help but learn from people like that, which is why when I actually left for Plymouth it wasn't a massive disappointment.

"It meant I was moving on to play first-team football, which is all I wanted to do. I'm glad I left now because at the age of 21 I've got a lot of games under my belt and I'm at Wolves.

"The biggest thing that came out of leaving was that they wanted a sell-on clause when I joined Plymouth. That suggested the manager rated me.

"It was like a nice pat on the back, but that in itself doesn't mean I will go on and have a great career. That remains down to me and the club I'm playing for, but it was good to know all the same."

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Tribal Football Staff

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