Obertan: No regrets over England move
Newcastle winger Gabriel Obertan is adamant he made the right choice in leaving France for Manchester United three years ago, as he prepares to face his first club Bordeaux in the Europa League.
Obertan, 23, arrived in England in 2009 after Sir Alex Ferguson was advised to bring him to Old Trafford by then-Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc, but struggled to make an impression on the first-team picture at United and was sold to Newcastle last summer.
He has continued to face a battle to be a regular starter but believes he was right to cross the Channel despite having not yet even established himself at Bordeaux, claiming that it was a long-term injury that hampered his chances at United.
"'I had a fracture in my back," Obertan told Sud-Ouest. "'When I was in Lorient [on loan, before moving to United], I had pain after a collision. We were not worried about it but it didn't disappear. I had some tests which revealed a micro-fracture in my vertebras. I spent five months out, I had nothing else to do, just having rest."
When Obertan returned from injury, the competition was tough, with Nani, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Antonio Valencia all favoured ahead of him. However, the Frenchman maintains that he is proud of his time at United and learned a great deal, particularly from his manager.
''When I was injured, he [Ferguson] stayed very close to me. He is the best coach in the world. I wanted to always be on the pitch, but all players do. I remember only positives about my two years in Manchester. My first match, against Blackburn, is my best memory. And my goal against Bursaspor in United's jersey stays an unforgettable moment in my career."
Obertan now often sits on the Magpies bench, too, but while his career has not developed he expected, he believes time is on his side.
''I am happy in England, I have no regrets," Obertan said. "I am only 23, people can't forget me too quickly. However, I know I missed at some pivotal moments. If I scored some goals at these moments, things could be better. But I don't blame anyone than myself."