Sheffield Wednesday’s city rivals admit they ‘didn’t want him to go’ after youngster’s shock Owls arrival

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Hassan Ayari raised a few eyebrows in Sheffield this week as he turned out for Sheffield Wednesday’s U21s, despite being contracted to their city rivals, Sheffield United.

Ayari, a Tunisian youth international, had been on loan with Scarborough Athletic this season, but that was cut short recently and he consequently ended up in Wednesday’s starting XI for the 3-1 defeat to Peterborough United.

Now, a few days later, Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed that – while they don’t want him to leave – he appears to have made his made up.

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Speaking to The Star this week, former Owl Heckingbottom said, "I don't know how it came about in terms of Wednesday, but Hassan had conversations with Del (Derek Geary, United’s academy manager) across the summer. Himself, his family and his representative about wanting to leave.

"We didn't want him to go, we wanted him to play here and be pushed. He had an experience away at Scarborough on loan and I think that was an eye-opener in terms of the levels.

"Sometimes young players can be impatient and not realise how tough it is to be a footballer. Then he had the conversation with Del, that he can look and go elsewhere. At the minute, we don't see him getting in our team. And if he's desperate to leave then he can go and try to find somewhere. He can leave."

Ayari has scored goals at youth level for United in recent years, and was one of Wednesday’s best performers against Peterborough earlier in the week.