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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 17:24 GMT
Butt in Man Utd admission
Man Utd's England midfielder Nicky Butt
Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt has no regrets in turning down a 5m move to Birmingham in order to fight for a place in the starting line-up.

Butt had asked to go on the transfer list following his frustration at lack of regular first-team football.

But his patience has been rewarded and he said: "I always said it would be difficult to leave this club and now I'm glad I didn't.

"It's the club I've grown up with and I definitely see my future here."

England midfielder Butt seemed on the brink of a move to St Andrews, only to change his mind after talking to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Butt has started five of United's last seven games and seems almost certain to retain his place for the derby in the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday.

He admitted: "I had become a bit disillusioned because you can only be patient for so long.

There's a long way to go before I start thinking about whether I'll be in the England squad this summer
Man Utd midfielder Nicky Butt

"But experience has taught me things can change very quickly in football and over the last three to four weeks I have played in quite a few games, albeit through others being injured or suspended.

"Now I am playing, I am really happy but I need to prove I am good enough to stay in the team and start improving my performance."

Butt's main concern was that his lengthy spell on the sidelines would threaten his England place.

A lengthy chat with Eriksson eased his fears and he seems an almost certainty for England's Euro 2004 squad.

Butt said: "I spoke to the England manager about the situation because over the past 18 months I have started virtually every game.

"He just said 'as long as you are getting games and are fit, you will be in my mind'.

"I can only take his word for that and play as many games as I can up to the summer.

"But I am not daft enough to think if I am not playing for my club I can just walk into the England team.

"Even now, I wouldn't blame him if he said `look Nicky, you're not playing because you've not played all season'.

"I've always said if you're playing for Manchester United and you're doing well, you'll get your chance with England.

"But there's a long way to go yet before I even start thinking about whether I'll be in the squad this summer or not."




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