Saturday 22 July 2017

I'll sack anyone who threatens my control - Fergie

Alex Ferguson. Photo: Getty Images
Alex Ferguson. Photo: Getty Images

Jason Burt

Alex Ferguson yesterday renewed his attack on Wayne Rooney's agent by describing Paul Stretford as "not the most popular man in the world" as far as Manchester United are concerned.

"Some young people today take bad advice," the United manager said of the contract crisis that almost led Rooney to leave. "But there's nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you recognise it. He (Rooney) has apologised and signed a new contract. What we want is Wayne back to his best. When that happens I think everything will be okay.

"The boy rushed in. The minute the response of the public and supporters and press had a say, he changed his mind immediately because he knew he made a mistake, He signed a new contract in a couple of hours."

Asked if the 25-year-old striker had been unsettled by contact from Manchester City, who vied with Chelsea to sign him, Ferguson said: "You're never going to find out."

Rooney has returned from a week's conditioning work in the United States and trained yesterday.

Ferguson said he would assess today whether he is ready to return this weekend against Wigan. "Wayne's had a good week in Oregon. He's done well," Ferguson said.

His harsh words for Stretford -- Rooney's long-term adviser -- reveal the depth of his anger and there was also a warning for Rooney when he answered a question on how he maintains discipline.

"The minute a footballer becomes more important than the manager, your club is dead. The history of this club goes right down the drain," Ferguson explained. "I am the most important man at Manchester United. It has to be that way.

"My concern will always be control. The minute a player threatens my control in the dressing-room I have to take it seriously. I have to consider, is this worthwhile? Is it affecting team morale? Is it affecting results? Is it affecting the atmosphere in the dressing-room? If that is the case the player has to go, no question."

The 68-year-old said that the modern player was "cocooned" and was involved in a "look at me" culture. "Young people today have an image of themselves and they need to be seen, so they have these tattoos and earrings," he said.

However he conceded that he has had to change his style because "players are now more fragile human beings. Youngsters live in a different world, so I've to change".

Asked about City's undoubted ambition, Ferguson said: "You can buy success if the structure is right. They've bought some good players, no question, but building spirit is not easy when a collection of different individuals come into the dressing-room. It's a big challenge, it's not easy."

Speaking in Doha, where he supported Qatar's bid to host the 2022 World Cup finals, Ferguson maintained that he had no plans to retire.

"I'm in no mood for it, as long as my health is good I intend to carry on," he said. "If my health deteriorated it would be different, but retirement is for young people -- they can do something else. If I get off that treadmill where do you think I'd go? Only one way, down."

When he was reminded that he had mentioned 2011 as a possible retirement date, Ferguson said: "I've changed my mind -- again." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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