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Sir Alex Ferguson Once Let Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez Play On The Wing For Manchester United

Jack Kenmare

| Last updated 

Sir Alex Ferguson Once Let Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez Play On The Wing For Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson was as serious as they come during a 26-year reign as Manchester United manager.

The strict Scot built a reputation for his no-nonsense approach at Old Trafford, with the famous 'hairdryer' treatment being dished out whenever things dipped below his incredibly high standards. I mean, just ask Paul Scholes about his experience.

He applied those standards to the majority of fixtures during a typical season but on 24 July 2001, in a friendly clash against Team Singapore at the National Stadium in Kallang, Ferguson produced an uncharacteristic move in front of 44,000 fans.

Image credit: PA
Image credit: PA

With the scoreline at 7-1 after goals from Ole Gunnar Solskajer (2), Dwight Yorke (2), Phil Neville, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy, the United manager surprised many fans when he gave Fabien Barthez a chance to shine on the wing.

Image credit: YouTube
Image credit: YouTube

Barthez, who fancied himself as an outfield player during his time at United, 'pestered the life' out of Ferguson in a bid to play alongside United's attacking talent.

In fact, he once said: "Calling me a goalkeeper is not enough because I do like to be involved in the game as much as possible. I'm a player."

Ferguson finally gave in and replaced star striker Ruud van Nistelrooy with the World Cup-winning goalkeeper.

To be fair, it didn't take long for Barthez to make an impression. He nutmegged a Team Singapore player just moments after coming on and continued to get involved during a productive 10-minute spell.

Despite an impressive showing in the final minutes, Ferguson made his feelings clear after the full-time whistle.

"He's been pestering me for ages to let him do that," he said. "I just thank God he did not score because we never would have got him back in goal.

"He's very capable with the ball, no doubt about that. It was just a bit of fun for Fabien to give him that game because he has been going on about playing out."

Three years later, Barthez was sold to Marseille after losing his spot as United's first-choice goalkeeper.

What could have been if he was given another shot at being a winger? We can only imagine,

Featured Image Credit: se7enteen40/YouTube

Topics: Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Premier League

Jack Kenmare
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