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"Who Is The Next One Coming Through?" - Why Sir Alex Ferguson Produced So Much Talent At Manchester United

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"Who Is The Next One Coming Through?" - Why Sir Alex Ferguson Produced So Much Talent At Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson is arguably the greatest manager in Premier League history, Neil Ryan recounts his experiences and interactions with the Scot.

It was earned through diligence across almost every aspect and department of Manchester United Football Club.

A glimpse into the life of the man was provided by Neil Ryan, former United academy coach, in an interview with The Athletic.

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Neil Ryan said that Sir Alex was almost omnipresent at United, having “his eye on the ball with it all”.

This is something we’re familiar with - Sir Alex was all powerful at United and with the record that he had established it’s hard for anyone to say it was erroneous giving him that amount of control.

Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline | Credit: Alamy
Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline | Credit: Alamy

Ryan continued in awe, “He always made that effort to talk to us. He is such an engaging guy. I’ve been fortunate to sit at a game with him – the greatest manager ever – and he’s so humble, open, he listens to you. I was like a sponge soaking up everything he was saying.”

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Leaving Manchester United after 19 years at the club, Ryan certainly has had several messages and calls with people wishing him well for his next chapter.

That includes the former United manager. “I spoke to Alex Ferguson on the phone – he was brilliant… We spoke about me leaving the club, the reasons why, and I asked him for advice.

"One of the main things he spoke about at international level, rather than tactics and day-to-day coaching, was how we’ll be really able to affect the mentality of the players.”

While the Scot is famous for his temper and the “hairdryer treatment” that’s been levelled at many players in the past, Ryan reminisces about Sir Alex’s softer side. “He’s been such an amazing guy to me personally – my dad worked with him. Leaving the club I wanted to make sure I spoke to as many people as possible who had really impacted my time there.

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"Of course, he impacts everyone’s time at Man United.”

Sir Alex Ferguson with Manchester United coaches Mike Phelan and Carlos Queiroz in 2008. (Alamy)
Sir Alex Ferguson with Manchester United coaches Mike Phelan and Carlos Queiroz in 2008. (Alamy)

He’d also always be tuned in the future. Neil Ryan says that “Whenever I’d see him he was always saying, ‘Who is the next one coming through, Neil?’.”

That kind of fixation on the next greatest thing is how so many great players developed at Manchester United under the watchful eye of Sir Alex.

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It meant that a steady supply of talent was being prepared for the first team almost constantly.

Ryan continues that Sir Alex would “speak to you about the young ones coming up. I’ve got some amazing pictures of Marcus Rashford as a 12-year-old and the manager is talking to us all at the table, he’s leaning in. Schoolboys in for the day training. I snapped it – a timeless photo really.”

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Everyone already knew how great Sir Alex Ferguson was, yet one cannot be anything but amazed with every new story about the legendary United manager.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Football, Premier League

Aditya Selvam
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