Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho's departure from Inter Milan still stingsGetty Images

Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio admits he still feels a "sense of sorrow" when he sees the club's former player, Philippe Coutinho, starring for Liverpool.

Coutinho, 22, left the San Siro after just two-and-a-half seasons in January 2013, signing for Brendan Rodgers's side for a reported fee of £8.5m ($12.7m).

The Brazilian is now regarded as one of the manager's finest pieces of business since his arrival on Merseyside, growing into an integral member of Liverpool's attack, with Rodgers recently declaring him one of the best players in the Premier League.

Inter have been made to regret their decision to cash in on a player who they initially signed when he was 16 and Ausilio admits the Nerazzurri should have shown more patient with the Brazilian.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, he said: "Regarding Coutinho, he arrived at a very young age, he was only 16. We left him for two years with Vasco [Coutinho's boyhood club in Brazil] then he arrived with [Rafa] Benitez and the expectations were very high," Sempre Inter reports.

"Rafa used him as a winger to the left or right in a 4-2-3-1, he had so many qualities. He didn't play, we lost our patience and so we preferred to sell him, there was no more time.

"I would like to see all young players grow up and succeed at Inter. There are many who have passed through here and when I see them wearing other shirts a sense of sorrow remains with me."

Coutinho's excellent campaign has seen him shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year award alongside Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, David de Gea, Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez. The Liverpool star is also in contention to scoop the young player of the year award.