Ex-Man Utd talent who Sir Alex let go baffles fans as he’s made Afghanistan boss

Former Manchester United academy player Ashley Westwood has taken on the unenviable role of Afghanistan boss.

Westwood, who was a part of the Red Devils' FA Youth Cup winning side of 1995 before Sir Alex Ferguson let him join Crewe aged 19, has managed in India and Malaysia since hanging up his boots 11 years ago.

Having been out of a job since last April, the ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Wrexham defender, 47, this week signed a one-year contract with the Afghanistan Football Federation – who currently have 18 players boycotting the national team.

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That's because of allegations of corruption made against president Mohammad Yousef Kargar, who the group want sacked before they return.

Ahead of his first game, a 2026 World Cup qualifier against Qatar next week, Westwood said: "I understand player's concerns and issues. At the end of the day I want players who want to play for me and for this country.

"I will quickly now go into camp in Qatar with 25 players and I will start to form opinions of the players and how they run and conduct themselves.

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"We will start to make quick decisions about players and those who do not have the right commitment will not be picked."

Explaining the reasons for the boycott, Southend United's Noor Husin told The Guardian money that is supposed to be used for the betterment of the country's football is pocketed by chiefs.

He said: "The last straw came at the last camp when a big group of us decided that we’d had enough – 18 players got together and said 'if we’re going to move forward, we have to put a stop to this'.

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"We really want change. We want to help domestic players because the money they are getting from FIFA is not being used in the right way. We have the worst flights possible and we have to stay in substandard hotels.

'We’ve come together as a group because we want football in Afghanistan to move forward and we believe that it’s not going to move forward with the people that are in charge at the moment.”

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