Pique joy at United chance
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Man Utd's Gerard Pique admits he would still be waiting for his chance at Barcelona.Gerard Pique admits he would not have earned a first team opportunity at Barcelona as quickly as he has at Manchester United.
The Spanish teenager joined The Red Devils from Barcelona during the summer and has made a huge impression on manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
His rapid progression through the Old Trafford ranks was capped when he made his debut against Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday evening.
Pique came on as a substitute for the final half-hour as United beat their Championship opponents 3-0 in the Carling Cup.
But, if he had remained at Camp Nou, Pique feels he would be nowhere near to breaking in to Frank Rijkaard's first team.
Instead, the 17-year-old feels his appearance against Crewe is a vindication for his decision to swap Barcelona for Manchester in the summer.
"I don't think I would have had this opportunity at Barcelona," Pique told AS.
"At 17, I would be playing for Barca C. No-one would have given me the opportunity to play in the professional team.
"Every time I am more convinced (that I made the right decision)."
Pique admits that he would not have believed the changes in his life, and career over the past twelve months.
"If someone had said a year ago that this would happen I would have laughed.
"As the song goes, life is full of surprises.
"But at the moment I am conscious that things can change at any moment. I am just being realistic.
"I got 25 minutes and everything went well for me.
"I went back to collect the ball three of four times and the only time I touched it was for a clearance that went to one of our forwards.
"The about 1500 of our fans started to sing my name and I got goose-bumps."
Should Pique live up to his billing in the future, the inquest as to how Barcelona let one of their young talents leave for nothing is sure to surface - and Pique hopes that this prompts changes.
"They should have a good look at how they treat their youngsters.
"Here in Britain they are very strong on bringing young players through.
"They watch the kids play for a long time and know exactly what they are capable of.
"My Premiership debut will come, but for now I just want to enjoy this moment."