Hughes - Dunne 'key' to plans
City boss says skipper stay was top of his priorities
By James Dall. Last Updated: September 20, 2008 10:40am
Dunne: Hughes backing
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes admits securing the future of skipper Richard Dunne was 'key' to his future plans at Eastlands.
Dunne was strongly linked with a move away from City over the summer before Hughes took over at the club and ensured the 28-year-old penned a new four-year deal.
And ahead of Sunday's encounter against Portsmouth - a side Dunne was linked with during the transfer window - Hughes has explained why he felt it imperative that the defender remained at the City of Manchester Stadium.
He said: "After my appointment one of the first things I did was to speak to Dunney. He was away on holiday and everyone was talking to me about his future.
"But I hadn't actually spoken to the boy himself. He needed to hear from me that I wanted him to be part of what we are doing here.
"It was a case of 'don't do anything until I've spoken to you'. I was able to settle him down and we were able to do that very quickly.
"He's key to what we wanted to do here. He's captain of the club and if I'd have allowed him to go it would have sent completely the wrong message out - to the fans and to the dressing room.
"It's quite possible the fans were resigned to losing him. We had to address it very quickly, thankfully we did that and he's very much a big part of our future."
Dunne added in the Daily Mirror: "The summer was a difficult time for me because it was the close season and there were certain things being reported, including one that claimed all the players were up for sale, and some saying the club had accepted two bids for me.
"When Mark Hughes came in I got a phone call from him and he asked me how I felt about the club and whether I felt I was at a stage where I wanted to move on or not.
"I said if I had the chance of staying, that's what I wanted because all I ever wanted to do was play for City. He seemed pleased and told me I was very much part of his plans.
"He said he would work everything out for me within a few days but within half an hour he called back and told me everything was sorted."