AMBITION will drive Manchester City midfield star Garry Flitcroft to complete a £3 million move to Blackburn Rovers in the next couple of days, writes PETER WHITE.

Ray Harford swooped last night for a player he had under his wing with the England under-21 squad and, providing there are no unforeseen hitches with the usual medical formalities, Flitcroft will join the Ewood chase for a UEFA Cup spot.

The 23-year-old expressed some natural reluctance at leaving the club he has been connected with for the past 11 years.

But he desperately wants to further his career at both club and international level and sees the move to Rovers as the ideal opportunity to do just that.

The fee, which I believe Rovers negotiated down from an initial asking-price of around £4 million, was agreed with City last night.

Personal terms didn't take long to settle and Flitcroft will sign a contract to keep him at Ewood into the next century.

Before going for the medical tests he said: "I didn't particularly want to leave City. I have been at Maine Road since I was a 12-year-old schoolboy, but you have to be a realist and accept that things like this happen in soccer from time to time.

"The consolation for me is that I am joining a very ambitious club who will give me the chance to meet my own ambitions both at club and international level."

Rovers' move follows an inquiry which we revealed several weeks ago.

It was a case of City eventually, and reluctantly, agreeing to sell. And it gives Flitcroft a golden opportunity to swap the relegation struggle for the battle for UEFA Cup places.

He added: "I knew nothing at all about the move until I was told yesterday that City had accepted Blackburn's offer for me."

City are believed to need cash but boss Alan Ball said it had been a very difficult decision to accept the offer and that it hadn't just been down to finance.

"There were footballing matters we had to take into account like the development this season of young Michael Brown who has already proved he has a Premiership pedigree," said Ball.

"In fact we have a glut of midfield players at the club at the moment.

"Garry is a fantastic kid who has done brilliantly for me this season and for Manchester City over the past few years.

"I think the esteem in which he is held throughout soccer is reflected in the amount Blackburn are prepared to pay."

Flitcroft is a very highly-rated young player who has been on the verge of the England squad.

Like Colin Hendry before him he is a favourite with City fans and the switchboard of their local paper was bombarded with calls today, protesting about the fact that he was being allowed to leave Maine Road.

Rovers are signing a player hungry for success and one who believes he can achieve it at Ewood.

A "box-to-box" type player who also likes to get in goal attempts, Flitcroft has played a number of games for the England under-21 side and has made well over 100 senior appearances for City where he has been a driving force in a struggling side for the past three years.

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