Mike Phelan, assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson during their time at Manchester United, says the club were right to let Ravel Morrison leave.
The young midfielder was sold to West Ham for an initial fee of £650,000 in January 2012.
With the 20-year-old now starting to proving himself, some critics have questioned whether Morrison – who picked up a bad boy reputation for his off-field antics during his time at Old Trafford – should have been allowed to go.
But Phelan maintains that was the right decision.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “He needed to get out of Manchester.
“He has gone away from the club now which I think in hindsight is the correct thing to have done.”
Morrison’s rap sheet includes pleading guilty to witness intimidation in February 2011, being fined £600 for throwing his girlfriend’s phone through an open window during an argument in May 2011 and a caution for common assault in 2008.
Talking about Morrison’s time at United, Phelan said: “He had a tendency to disappear for the odd day or two and then we would manage to find him and bring him back in.
“It really was a day-to-day project with him. One day he was there and then another he wasn’t.
“He is a nice guy when he is with you, when he is around football, but obviously there were distractions.
“At the end of the day is it too much work to put into one person and keep the harmony and the balance? That was a decision that the club had to make.”
He added: “It is easy to say we let our most promising player leave but is it worth the hassle to wait and maybe not see fruition to it?”
And Phelan also warned that Morrison is not out of the woods yet.
He continued: “It is still a risk with Ravel, but he seems to have got his head in the right situation, his performances are decent and getting better. Hopefully he can maintain that.
“At Manchester United there were other things going on which were a distraction for him and that played a part in his downfall.”