Friday, September 29, 2023

I played in heated Man United vs Liverpool and Birmingham derbies, but hadn’t experienced anything like Milan

Ashley Young has played in a number of football’s biggest derbies, but one stands out above the rest.

Throughout his near-two decades at the top of the game, Young played for Manchester United against Liverpool as well as facing City, while he also featured in heated Birmingham derbies during his five years at Villa Park.

talkSPORT was delighted to have Young in the studiotalkSPORT

Young played in some fiery Birmingham derbies with talkSPORT host Gabby AgbonlahorGetty

But his time as a Serie A winner with Inter under manager Antonio Conte has clearly left a mark.

Joining talkSPORT to discuss his incredible trophy-filled career, the current Everton player was asked by host Alan Brazil and former Villa teammate Gabby Agbonlahor about the support in Italy.

The Milan rivals may share the San Siro stadium, but that doesn’t take anything away from the intensity bursting out of the stands.

“It definitely didn’t [impact the animosity]” Young explained. “Whichever the home team is has three parts of the stadium. 

“And the derby itself, driving up to the ground and seeing the fans, and just to play in it. The Milan derby was something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before. 

“My first experience we were actually losing 2-0 at half-time, and when you’re in a derby like that it’s not a good place to be. 

“We were at home and I remember the fans were not happy at all, everyone was just saying relax, be calm because we were on top, and by the end of the game we’d won 4-2.

“You can’t really describe the feeling of winning, it was amazing to see the fans and the way they were, you were on cloud nine at the end of the game.”

Young played under Conte during their time together at Inter and won Serie A in 2021Getty

San Siro is like no other stadium

Young was also keen to point out how intense the Second City derby between Villa and Birmingham could get, with Agbonlahor in agreement.

“Very bitter,” Agbonlahor said. “When you’re on the coach to the game you have that feeling that this is a bitter derby. 

“When you get changed at St. Andrews above you is the Villa fans, the away fans, so you can hear them getting excited before the game, you go and warm up and you get the normal abuse, you just know you can’t lose it.”

Young added: “It’s one of those where you play in it and you just know you can’t lose, you can’t go out in the city after that because of the fans, you don’t want to disappoint, you want to win and have those bragging rights.”

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