Oliver Kay in the Times
In two decades in charge of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has seen great players come and go — some of his own creation — but when asked to pick out those who fall into the world-class category, he aimed for a famous five before eventually settling on a magnificent seven, a group that includes the emerging talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney but not Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes, David Beckham or Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The omission of Beckham and Van Nistelrooy, both controversially sold to Real Madrid after falling out with the manager — and likewise Jaap Stam, who was hastily dispatched to Lazio after three championship-winning seasons — may spark debate among supporters, particularly given how Ferguson extolled their virtues when they were central to his plans. But the Scot does not hand out the “world-class” compliment lightly.
“In my time I've been blessed with several world-class players,”
“He's playing in the hardest position, out wide, and never refuses to take the ball and attack players. He's two-footed, he's brave and once his decision-making improves, he'll be world-class. Then there's [
The inclusion of Rooney and Ronaldo, like Giggs and Scholes, hints at a tech
Keane's presence on that exalted list at least proves that it is possible to fall out with
Giggs, indeed, moved to joint second on United's all-time appearances list on Saturday — equalling the 688 games played by Bill Foulkes — with
“I can always sense the time when he is coming to the boil,”