Manchester United is one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe and whilst many players become legends at Old Trafford, others often do not make the grade.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United were the most dominant side in English football. They won 13 Premier League titles under the legendary Scotsman and in order to sustain that success, the manager needed to be ruthless.
There were times where Fergie would let some of his best players go in order to keep United, as a team, at their best. The likes of Roy Keane, Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, among others, departed the club whilst still being great contributors on the field.
This means that it was even more difficult for others to sustain their roles in the United side. Even more so, it was very hard for young players to break into the first-team – as is the case now – and that often meant that players would get released.
Kenji Gorre joined The Reds at the age of six and made his way through the academy setup until the unfortunate news from Sir Alex came his way in January 2013 as an 18-year-old.
However, despite many being released. United are known for producing players that can hold their own in the top divisions, including the Premier League, even if that isn’t at Old Trafford. This was partly because they knew when these young talents needed to move on and progress their career elsewhere.
“I knocked on the door and Sir Alex says ‘Come on son, come in. Kenji, first of all, I appreciate you and I appreciate you as a man,” he recalled, speaking to the ThreeSixtyTV series released.
“You’ve had an amazing 10 years here and I can give you a contract right now, but I know that’s not going to do you any good’. And that’s when he started to share with me how there were a lot of guys in front of me… ;’This is the right time for you to move on’…
“I remember going downstairs, getting into my car and I just burst out crying. I just let it all out. I remember feeling like I’d let everyone down.
“I’ve let my parents down who have sacrificed their life for me, that’s how it felt. It was so heavy. And I can remember not knowing who I was anymore. What was I gonna tell my friends? They knew me as Kenji Gorre, the guy that played for Manchester United!”
Fast forward to 2023 and Gorre has over 200 career appearances at the age of 28 and is a regular contributor to Liga Portugal club Boavista FC.
He remained a free agent for the remainder of the campaign after being released by The Reds but found a new home in Swansea City the following summer.
United have since introduced a programme to help guide released players and aid their future as best as they can.
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