Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has recently made a very bold remark. He said that he only managed four world-class players during his glorious stint at Old Trafford.
The Scotsman won everything there was to win during his 26 years in charge of the club. In total, he won 39 trophies, out of which 13 were Premier League titles, a domestic record for a manager at a single club. He also won five FA Cups and four league cups. In addition to his domestic trophies, he has two Champions League to his name. His 1998-99 Manchester United team is also the only English team to have won the treble in history.
Undoubtedly, he is regarded as the finest manager in the history of club football. His United teams dominated English football for years before he retired in the 2012-13 season.
Since Ferguson’s retirement, United have struggled massively and failed to challenge for the title in each season. But there are signs of improvement under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ferguson names four world-class players he managed at United:
In his book, ‘Leading’ via Daily Star, Sir Alex revealed that he only managed four world-class players during his time at Manchester United. He left out some notable names. He wrote:
“If you read the papers or listen to the television commentators, we seem to be awash with ‘world-class’ footballers. I don’t mean to demean or criticise any of the great or very good footballers who played for mr during my 26-year at United. But there were only four who were world class: Cantona, Giggs, Ronaldo and Scholes. And of the four, Cristiano was like an ornament on the top of a Christmas tree.”
Fergie left out the likes of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and Peter Schmeichel. But he said that they were just ‘great players.’
“But these players elevated themselves above all that. The younger breed like Ryan and Scholes were just fantastic players and the thing about those two was longevity. Are there players who have played right through the whole of the Premier League and performed at the level they have? There are none, absolutely none. Of course, Ronaldo was just a complete genius of a player.”
12th Man Times take
There is no doubting the fact that Ferguson has managed some of the greatest Premier League players ever at Manchester United. If you put a team of Premier League’s best XI of all time, it would have 6-7 players that have played under Ferguson.
But to say he only managed four world-class players during his time at Old Trafford is harsh on some of the players. Starting with Wayne Rooney, United’s all-time top goal scorer. The Englishman wore the United shirt as he meant it. Gave everything for the club and even played out of position several times for the team’s benefit.
The omission of Peter Schmeichel is also surprising. The Dane was a beast between the sticks and captained that treble-winning team in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Lastly, Fergie left out Roy Keane, arguably United’s best ever captain. Steel in United’s midfield dominated Europe. He did have a feisty relationship with Ferguson, which might be the reason for his exclusion.