Burnley’s Steven Defour remains grateful to former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson for sending a letter wishing him well when he broke a metatarsal in 2009.
Aged 21 and already captain of Standard Liege, Defour was tipped for a big-money move – with United among the rumoured suitors – until he suffered the injury.
He joined Porto in 2011 and returned to Belgium with Anderlecht in 2014, never quite hitting the heights that were once expected of the midfielder.
Speaking ahead of Burnley’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday, the 28-year-old reminisced about the gesture he received from Ferguson during a tough time.
“I was really down because of missing out on the Champions League and I knew that a lot of clubs were following me,” he told the Guardian. “I felt really, really bad.
“One day, I received a letter from Sir Alex Ferguson wishing me well. That was a surprise, because not everybody gets a letter from Sir Alex Ferguson when they are injured, but I knew from a year before that Manchester United were following me closely.
“It was still a surprise to receive the letter and I wrote one back to him to say thank you, but I’ve not met him to say it.”
Defour is an injury doubt for Burnley’s trip to United, where they will look to register their first points away from Turf Moor this season.
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