Sunday 23 October 2016

David Beckham: Manchester United won't fade into the wilderness like Liverpool

Paul Hirst

Published 07/10/2015 | 08:09

David Beckham poses for photographers at Old Trafford, ahead of his upcoming charity soccer match against a Rest of the World team led by Zinedine Zidane at Old Trafford to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF
David Beckham poses for photographers at Old Trafford, ahead of his upcoming charity soccer match against a Rest of the World team led by Zinedine Zidane at Old Trafford to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF

David Beckham is sure Manchester United will not fade away and go decades without a Premier League trophy as their great rivals Liverpool have done.

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Ten years after Beckham left Old Trafford, United enhanced their standing as the most successful team in England when they lifted their 20th title, moving them two ahead of foes Liverpool in Sir Alex Ferguson's final season in charge.

United have struggled ever since, with David Moyes leading the club to seventh place before Louis van Gaal steadied the ship and took the Red Devils back into the Champions League.

Liverpool threatened to move level with United the season after Ferguson left, but Steven Gerrard's untimely slip went a long way to ensuring the title went to Manchester City in 2014.


The once-dominant Merseyside club have now gone 25 years without lifting the biggest trophy in the domestic arena. Some pundits are predicting a similarly fallow period for United, but Beckham is optimistic about the future at Old Trafford.

"I can't see that happening to Manchester United," the former United midfielder said when asked if the club could go through such a barren patch as Liverpool have done.

"I never think that we will not be in contention for winning trophies because there is too much history, there is too much embedded into this club to let it just slip away like that."

As Beckham knows, even Ferguson went through occasional dry patches with United.

The 40-year-old, speaking at a press conference to publicise a UNICEF charity match at Old Trafford, did not win any silverware in three of his 11 years as a professional at the club.

"We have been spoiled over the last 20 years," said Beckham, who played 394 times for United after graduating from the club's famed academy.


"We have been so successful and then the manager and (former chief executive) David Gill leave, then there is a number of players that retired like Scholesy and Giggsy. No matter what club it is, no matter how much money you have behind you, there is going to be a dip in trophies, but unfortunately when you are Manchester United, you can't really have that and there are tough moments."

United were top of the table before the weekend when they lost 3-0 at Arsenal.

Several ex-players, including former captain Gary Neville, have criticised certain aspects of Van Gaal's management, but there was a hint of optimism from Beckham about the Dutchman.

"The weekend was a tough loss but I think other than that we seem to be kind of slowly gradually getting back to some excitement as well," he said.

"I would love to play in this side, personally."

Beckham is also encouraged to see his old team-mate Ryan Giggs alongside Van Gaal in the home dugout.

The Welshman, who won the league 13 times at United, is assistant manager to Van Gaal, but Beckham feels his old friend could one day take the top job at Old Trafford.

''I have always said that Giggsy has this streak running through him that you see in top managers," Beckham said.

''It might not be for the next five or 10 years but at some point it would be amazing for the fans to have him.


''To have Giggsy sat on the line preparing himself to become a manager is exciting.''

Beckham has no plans to pursue a similar career path.

"People have asked me, 'Why don't you go into management or coaching?'. It's just something that I am not really that passionate about or interested in," he added.

Ferguson will be back in the dugout for the UNICEF match on November 14 at Old Trafford. Beckham will captain the Glaswegian's Great Britain and Ireland XI against a Rest of the World team, which will be coached by Carlo Ancelotti.

"Bringing the boss back to the dugout means so much to so many people and thankfully we will be doing that,'' said Beckham, who said 60,000 tickets had already been sold for the match.

''I spoke to him personally and he was more than happy to (get involved).

''My relationship with the manager was always great despite what people say, despite the couple of ups and downs which we had.''

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