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Man United were always a "development team" under Ferguson - Brian McClair


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Manchester United legend Brian McClair has paid tribute to former manager Alex Ferguson's vision and trust in the youth system during his time in charge of the club.

Speaking to Off The Ball AM, McClair praised Ferguson's ability to not only bring through youth team players, but to get even more out of the signings he brought in.

"In the time that was there and Alex Ferguson was a manager the first team had been a development team. So young players, and players that have been bought, have developed in his teams and have gone on to become some of the best players in the world over that period of time".

This wasn't always the case before Sir Alex took charge however, as McClair painted a picture of a scouting set up well behind the times, even for the 1980s.

"When he came, locally in Manchester, or greater Manchester which is quite a substantial geographic area, there were only two scouts. I don't know how many he had at Aberdeen, but he had considerably more than two. I think in the greater Manchester area at that time there was five million people".

"At the end of the first or second season most of the associate schoolboys that Manchester United had were released, and the drive was on to get the best young players in the Manchester area who at that point were going to Manchester City".

When asked about the "Class of '92", McClair said he wasn't surprised by how good they turned out to be, as he'd already been playing alongside the then youngsters in the second team, but noted the importance of actually giving the youngsters a chance to perform.

"I'd been playing for the reserves at that moment in time so I knew what they were capable of. Giggsy had already been in really for a year before it. I'd played with Nicky, Paul, David, and Gary in the reserves and you knew that they were all good players. It's only when they get a chance to come in and train with the rest of the first team, then obviously play in the games that they grow into themselves".


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