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Lescott reveals encouragement from Rooney and Ferdinand to join Man City

The defender switched from Everton to the Etihad Stadium in 2009.

Lescott and Rooney battling for possession in 2012.
Lescott and Rooney battling for possession in 2012.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

WAYNE ROONEY AND RIO Ferdinand encouraged Joleon Lescott to join Manchester United’s arch-rivals Manchester City in 2009 at the start of the club’s revival.

Lescott moved to the Etihad Stadium from Everton for a reported £22 million [$29m] prior to the turn of the decade.

Forming a formidable partnership with Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City back-four, the centre-back won four major honours during five seasons at the club.

Among that silverware was the 2011-12 Premier League title – their first top-flight championship for 44 years – which is regarded as the most important moment of their meteoric rise.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak played a key role in tempting Lescott to move to Manchester but talks with Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, at the time key members of the squad on the other side of the city at Old Trafford, also proved decisive.

“He [the chairman] sold me the story of where they wanted to be,” he told BT Sport.

“Obviously it is easy for him to say that and see it as a vision because he is a businessman first.

“He believed the club was going to be where they are now. As a player I hoped that would be the case but not as quickly as it has happened. 

Rio will probably remember I spoke to him and Wayne [Rooney] at the time. Wayne being a massive Evertonian was encouraging me to go there because the ambition of the club matched me as a player.

“To go there and be a part of that and see it develop over time it hasn’t surprised me.”

Lescott is now back at City advising the club’s loan players.

Upon swapping Merseyside for City in the first full summer of Sheikh Mansour’s ownership, Lescott doubled his wage packet to £82,000-a-week, as the club embarked on bringing in the best from the Premier League and Europe.

Over £1.3 billion has been invested in the decade since the United Arab Emirates deputy prime minister took charge but Lescott rejects the notion he only moved for money.

We had that extra motivation of people, players, pundits, fans only assuming that we went there for money,” he added.

“No-one assumed we were going there to win the title.

“[It was said] that was the only reason we went to the club, it wan’t to win the Premier League or create something, that is happening now.”

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