Saturday 23 September 2017

Alex Ferguson explains why he snubbed Roy Keane and others for not being world class

Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane
Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane

Tom Sheen

Alex Ferguson caused a bit of a stir in the football world when he wrote in his new book that he only managed four world class players during his trophy-laden time at Manchester United.

The Scot named only Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo as those players, leaving the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and more out, when plenty would argue that those players were all among the best in the world at certain stages of their careers.

Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice during his 27-year stay at Old Trafford, has now explained his choice, arguing that he hadn't snubbed those other players, merely that attacking players are much more important in the sport.

Speaking to Sirius XM FC, Ferguson said that the quartet of players he picked were the ones who "make a difference".

"...that’s the area in which the press have not given it the proper publication, the proper reason for saying this," he said when asked about the passge in his new book, Leading.

"If you look at the time I was at for United for 27 years, I had some fantastic players, some great players. I never said those players were not great, they were fantastic. But in the context in my opinion, it was a qualified opinion, that some players make a difference, and that’s what I judged.

"Eric Cantona, when he came into the club in 1993 he made a difference. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs played for 20 years in the Premier League, that made a difference to us. And of course, Cristiano Ronaldo’s performances, he is a world-class player as everyone knows. Him and [Lionel] Messi the two world-class players.

"So I never said any player was rubbish. I said they were all great players. And most importantly, those four players didn’t win the leagues alone, or the cups alone, It was the squad who won the cups, all the teams, they did that perfectly, and I was so proud of them.

"The thing about my own take on players, ever since I was a little kid, I was always attracted by the attacking players, centre-forwards, wingers and creative players in the game. And that’s why in the book, I’ve stressed the importance of creative players.

"If you look at the Ballon d’Or winners for the last 50 years, only two defensive players have won it. And I question one of those because one was Franz Beckenbauer, I’m not sure he was a defensive player, I think he was more of a creative player. The other was an Italian, [Fabio] Cannavaro, in 2006.

"So, I think the general consensus of what great players are, usually falls on the mantle of the creative players who win games. And that’s where the take on those four players come into it, no criticism of any of my players, because you couldn’t criticise those players, they were fantastic."

Independent News Service

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