Last Updated: 14 June 2023, Author: AceOdds.com
In our latest video interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Manchester United legend Gary Pallister as he shared his insights on a range of topics related to the club. From drawing comparisons between Ten Hag's approach and Sir Alex Ferguson's philosophy, to discussing the impressive rise of Lisandro Martínez and the potential future captains at the club, Pallister offers a unique perspective. He also delves into the significance of the 92/93 season title win and shares a fascinating story about his relationship with fellow legend Roy Keane. Get ready for a captivating read as we explore these intriguing aspects of Manchester United's storied history.
Well, he's only been in the job, what, seven months? So I think it's really hard to answer that question at the moment. Obviously, the one that's left is very high profile in Cristiano [Ronaldo]. I think he handled that situation really well. I think that's something that Sir Alex did himself.
It's hard as a player to know when to leave, and Sir Alex talked about how difficult it was to let players go who had been so important to his sides and who he had a fondness for as well and respected everything they done for the club. But there came a time when it was time to go and he made them difficult decisions.
It's funny, I was watching a documentary last night. I just put it on when I was flicking through the channels, and he was on about saying how difficult it was, and if he had a difficult decision to make he wouldn't go to bed worrying about it and he'd make that decision before he went to bed so it didn't keep him up all night.
So it sounds quite harsh, but I think that's the nature of it. He seemed to get the timing rate whenever he let big names go, whether it was Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Jap Stam, which I think famously he said he maybe got wrong. Ruud van Nistelrooy, all these kind of players. If he feels as though that's going to hinder the team progressing, then he's not afraid to make them big calls.
As for Ten Hag, I think he handled the leaving of Cristiano Ronaldo really well. I just think he's got a similar mentality to the gaffer in the way that the players have to know who's the boss. Can anybody sort of challenge that fact in the dressing room? That was something that he firmly believed in and was steadfast in that when it came to dealing with players or egos that were maybe getting out of line in the dressing room.
So he's drawn a line in the sand, Ten Hag, as we saw with the Rashford situation. Whether that was actually the first time that Marcus was late or the second or third, who knows, maybe seemed a little bit harsh if it was only the first time. But that's where he's drawn a line in the sand, and the players know where to stand if they want to play in the team. We've got to obey his rules.
So I think that's what the team's needed and that's what he's brought to the fore, I guess.
Listen, when you hear we signed a five-foot-nine centre half, you raise your eyebrows.
Then when you go and play him in the first game against Brentford with Ivan Tony, you're a little bit sceptical because it probably wasn't the ideal game for him to go and make his Premier League debut in. But that apart, I think he's been magnificent.
I think he's got that warrior mentality that somebody like Steve Bruce or Nemanja Vidić had. The fans have taken to him. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He's tough. I'll tell you what else he is, he's a really good passer of the football.
I think with Varane, you found that silk and steel, which has probably been the secret to good partnerships at the back in the past for Manchester United.
So, yeah, he's been terrific. He's possibly a future captain in waiting, I got nothing but positive things to say about Martinez. I think he's quickly become a fan favourite, he's quickly become integral to the team and he's certainly one of the leaders on the park in the way he conducts himself and plays the game. So yeah, thoroughly impressed.
He's another one. He's got the experience, he is a terrific professional. I think he's maybe surprised a few people with the hunger that he's shown when he came here.
A lot of people sort of looked at his age and why he left Real Madrid, and wondered whether he would have the hunger to come and do it in the Premier League. But I think we've seen that, and we've seen them leadership qualities as well.
I was very fortunate to play in teams that had a number of people who could've been captains. I think the more you have that ilk, the better chance you've got of the side being ultra-professional, if you like.
So whether it be Casemiro, whether it be Martinez, whether it be Bruno [Fernandes] or Harry Maguire, the more leaders you can have in the team, the better it is.
Listen, it was the Holy Grail. It had been 26 years without winning the title. Which for a club like Manchester United, the size of club that it was, there was no real threats in terms of - well, there was Liverpool in terms of the football - but the size of Manchester United, it was still seen as the biggest club in the world. Or one of the top three biggest clubs in the world. It had gone 26 years without winning the title.
So, yeah, it was just getting the monkey off the back, wasn't it? It was laying that ghost to rest. We came close the year before when we got pipped by Leeds. We had to play, I think it was four games or five games in ten days. Whatever ridiculous amount of games it was, it was crazy.
So to get over the line and take that pressure off teams that came after '93 was integral, I think. I think it just freed everything up, freed the players up, freed the managers up, took away that feeling from the fans on a match day when you were getting closer, and that maybe fed through with the players on the pitch sometimes.
So to get that over the line and get it done in '93 was pivotal to this success. I think under Sir Alex after that, I think the teams that came through till he left didn't have to deal with that kind of pressure that maybe we dealt with in 92 and in 93.
It just laid the foundations for them to go on and be the best in Europe as well.
There was a lot of rumours and a lot of guesswork.
I remember us - me, Sharpie and Keaney - we got caught in a bar after we just beat Liverpool in the midweek. We went out for a couple of drinks after the game and one of the gaffer's mates was in the place we happened to be in, so he snitched on us the next day. So that's how we found out that one.
He seemed to find out an awful lot. I remember him saying that... I remember another night in a nightclub, we played a preseason friendly and I got called into the office saying I was in a nightclub near where I lived when I wasn't. It doesn't mean it was always right.
I think a lot of people would have bent over backwards to give him that kind of information. And that's the legend and the detective work of the gaffer.
I doubt very much whether he was in touch with all the bouncers in all the nightclubs, because there was too many nightclubs in Manchester to keep account of.
We drank at the right times. I think he was tolerant of that because it was something we used to do. It was prevalent in a lot of football clubs on a Tuesday. If we didn't have a midweek game and we had Wednesday off, we'd go out and have a few beers together. They were really good fun days.
It's obviously a bygone era, but I think the fact that the team would go out and socialise together away from a work environment. I think it helped build camaraderie and togetherness and team spirit, whatever you want to call it. Because it just shows that you enjoyed each other's company, you know what I mean?
And if you got caught when you shouldn't have been out, then he'd come down on you like a tonne of breaks. But I can't remember that happening on too many occasions.
Oh, man. [laughs] Yeah, we kept that quiet for a long time, actually.
We had a fallout in a preseason tour. We were both stubborn enough. It was funny because we'd shake hands before a game and sort of laugh, but neither of us would break the ice. So we went through the whole season being like that.
And then it was actually the year I left. I came back to get my stuff out of the cliff, my boots and trainers and things like that. And he was walking down the corridor into the home dressing room when I was walking out. We starting walking into each other and we both started laughing and he put his hands out and shook my hand and he just wished us all the best at Middlesborough, and that's how the ice was broke.
I mean, we're fine now, but it was just weird. Neither of us would sort of be the first one to offer the hand up and say, right, let's be mates. Just stubbornness on both of our behalfs, really, I think. But that's how it all panned out in the end.
I think we might have been having a chat with him.
Bruno wears his heart on his sleeve. What happened the other week when he kind of pushed the linesman, I mean, people are trying to compare what happened with [Aleksandar] Mitrović, but he was nowhere near as aggressive as that was.
In the same game, I think he feigned injury to his face when he got caught in the chest. You don't like to see that.
But listen, you see a lot of Spanish & Portuguese players, maybe it's more acceptable in their culture and their football. But I don't think it looks good when it's seen on camera. And your captain, so it's easy to sit here and be negative about what he's done.
But I think he's got a lot of credit in the bank with Manchester United fans. In periods when we were struggling as a team, he was always shining light, scoring goals, creating goals, and showed a real passion for playing.
And I think you can forgive a lot of things that go on with Bruno. But I think it's something, that when you look back at it yourself, it doesn't look good. I'm sure he's looking to address that, and the more of that which goes into the public domain, the more he's got to react to it.
But don't take the fire out of his belly. He's done a great job for United this season. I don't think he's always played in the position he really wants to play in. But I think once he's out on that park, I think, the fans love his attitude, they love his ability. They can put that to one side when he plays for Manchester United.
I speak a lot about silk and steel. You can look at [Nemanja] Vidic and [Rio] Ferdinand, there's been a lot of partnerships where you've got two different kinds of centre half.
Varane makes the game look very simple. Maybe hasn't got the tenacity of Martinez, but certainly got the composure. So I think it's a nice mix. I think they've looked terrific when they've played together and that's what made it so hard for Harry [Maguire] and Victor [Lindelöf] to get in the side.
It's probably still developing. I think there's more to come from the two of them. It looks really good from for United. But saying that, they also played in the seven-nil game, so that was a bit of a blip on the horizon.
But I like the look of the two and when they play together. He's a leader, Martinez, and I think when you're somebody like Varane or Ferdinand, I think it's nice to be playing alongside somebody with that kind of tenacity.
Yeah, I think it's important. My relationship with [Steve] Bruce was really good off the park. We socialised quite a bit with our partners, and we were both from the Northeast, so we had that in common. Him being a Geordie and me being a Smoggie.
So we had a really good relationship off the park and I think that does help. Once you've got that kind of understanding and you'll maybe go that little bit further if he's actually a friend, to help him out as well.
But relationships all over the park are great. You've got the relationship with the goalkeeper. I think that's important. You've got the right back and maybe the right side of the midfield player needs a good relationship and understanding. The more you play together, the better that becomes.
Myself and Steve, we very rarely got injured for probably the first four or five years that we were together, so there was that continuity all the time and I think you need that. You get the blend right, not just as a centre half partnership, but with your full-backs, your goalkeeper and you make yourself a good unit there.
The Arsenal one is another one that you think about. They took so much pride in keeping clean sheets and it almost becomes habitual, if you like.
So, yeah, relationships are good things to have, and I think if you're friends away from the football field as well, it can also help.
That's up for Harry to decide.
I think he's been very professional in the way he's handled it. We heard him in the press the other week saying, he's still really enjoying being part of this.
He's not playing the games that he wants to. He's got to make that call himself. It hasn't affected his England career. He's played in both games, played in the last tournament, so it's not affecting that. I think Gareth Southgate's obviously got a lot of trust in Harry.
Only he can decide whether it's what he wants to do or he feels as though he needs to leave. I don't know what he's got left on his contract, whether that's an issue as well.
But, yeah, I'm sure he's talking to whoever his agent is. I'm sure, as he said in the papers, he's sitting down and talking to Ten Hag. If he wants to stay, then I'm sure Ten Hagg will be delighted that he is staying, because he is an excellent centre-half, albeit he's taken a bit of a bit of stick from the media.
I think that sometimes gets out of hand on some of the stuff that's written is pretty ludicrous when you consider the way he played for England in the last tournament as well.
But, yeah, ultimately you want to play in the big games. Right now, I'd say Varane and Martinez are owning the shirts when it comes to the big European games, the big Premier League games. It's how he feels about that in the future.
Yeah, with a successful transfer window, then who knows?
The one that everybody's looking at, obviously, is Jude Bellingham. I think wherever he goes, it will give the club that he arrives at a huge shot in the arm because everybody wants him.
He's English. Technically, he's excellent. He's got a great drive to him by the looks of it. And I think every club's sort of letting it be known that they'd love to him to have him at their club.
So the thing is, Manchester United is under a bit of a cloud at the moment because we're not sure what's going to happen with the bids for the club, or who's going to be in charge come the next transfer window. So that's a bit of a grey area.
But I would say United also need a centre-forward as well. If they can bring in one of maybe their top two targets next season, then it's going to make United more dangerous.
I think they've taken great strides this year because of the fact that we've had Casemiro and [Christian] Eriksen in there. I think the two lads in midfield have brought a different dimension to Manchester United, which we possibly have not had for a few years. So that's ticked the box in there.
If you add Bellingham to that as well, then wow. If you get, as I say, one of the two centre-forwards, then I think that sends out a big message to the rest of the Premier League that Manchester United can compete again with the very best.
And it seems we've got the manager in place that has done a terrific job so far. If he continues the way he has been doing and gets the players he wants, and I'm sure he can take them even further.
I would say so. I think he really laid down the law with players.
You listen to some of the rhetoric that's come out from the club. There's been few egos around and the managers have struggled to deal with certain characters, possibly.
I think he speaks well in front of the cameras. I think he's set benchmarks. He plays a style of football that the crowd can get behind. He's not defensive-minded, he's quite open. He wants to attack, he wants to score.
That's what everybody's been crying out for at with Manchester United since Sir Alex left. I think Ole [Gunnar Solskjær] you could possibly say, came as close for a period of time that we played a brand of football that was quite exciting.
But, yeah, I think Ten Hag's got the experience, the knowledge, and a bit of grit, which has really stood him in good stead.
Obviously, Haaland and Kane are the standouts. It would probably be Haaland. He's strong, and doesn't appear to have too many weaknesses to his game.
But Harry Kane's very clever as well. A really clever player. Maybe doesn't have the physicality of Haaland, but he's clever in the way he leans into players and knocks players off balance, and he's a real handful.
But I think because of the physicality side of it and not being quicker than Haaland, I would think that would be far scarier for more centre halfs.
I would probably go with... that's a weird one because Van Dyke has been incredible for Liverpool for a couple of years. I think he's not quite looked the same player since he had the cruciate injury, which does tend to affect players. I think that's possibly been one of Liverpool's biggest problems this year.
When Van Dyke came in and Allison, Liverpool were conceding a lot of goals. Then the two of them came in and surely sured that up.
For a time, Van Dyke was like a one-man defence. I think he gave everybody else the licence to bomb forward, like [Andrew] Robertson and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and now I don't think he's quite the same player that he was.
But yeah, for those two years I think he was probably the best centre-half in Europe. So a fully fit Virgil Van Dyke would probably be the one.
Good question. The game's changed a lot from when I made my debut, in '88. I think I made my England debut when I was playing in what was then the Second Division with Middlesbrough.
You used to get a lot of players. Stuart Pearce had come from non-league, Chris Waddle had come from non-league. Players who have come from lower divisions and made that step forward into playing for England.
Vardy is probably one of the last ones to do something like that maybe. I think Chris Smalling did it as well for Manchester United and played for England, but yeah, I don't really know.
I think the gap between the Premier League and the Championship has got bigger and bigger. Obviously because the advent of more European players coming over here. The Premier League is the most sought-after league for professional footballers all over the world now. That's where the riches are, that's where the big money is, that's where the focus is on.
So more and more people are coming here, and that's going to lead to not as many English players playing in the Premier League and then going on to play for England.
Gareth knows that because he's looking at players week in, week out. So if he's saying that he's not a daft lad, Gareth, he's saying how he's finding it.
So as for the Championship, is there anybody in the Championship who I think could make that step up? The answer to that is probably I don't watch an awful lot of Championship football, I see the 'boro occasionally.
Dael Fry is doing a decent job for Middlesbrough. He's been touted as a Premier League player of the future. Hopefully, we get a chance to see that next year. If Middleborough get up, either automatically or via the playoffs.
As I say, I don't really see enough of the Championship to be able to see whether players are good enough to play for England.
Amazing. The transformation from a team that was the third bottom of the Championship prior to going into the close down for the World Cup, where the fans were really concerned about the relegation battle and look where we are now. You have to say it's been breathtaking, really.
I've seen, I think the last couple of home games at the Riverside. I've got to say it's probably the best football I've seen being played by the Middlesbrough team for... probably ever.
Now that's a big statement, and it is the Championship, but the connectivity between this team is kind of miraculous from what it was.
The flow of the game, the passing, the imagination, the cutting edge, they're ticking all the boxes at the moment and from what I understand it's just Michael giving them the freedom to go and express themselves, which is what players like to hear. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, go out and enjoy yourself.
It was something Sir Alex would say. The last thing he would say was before we went out onto a pitch, as we were walking out the dressing room was 'enjoy yourself'. Enjoy yourself and you'll express yourself.
And I think that's something Michael's obviously picked up from him and is keen to get that message over to his players and I think that's the way they're playing.
They're playing with enjoyment, they're playing like they're not scared and the fans are kind of reacting to that as well. So it's a real positive place to play football. The run has been incredible and long may that continue.
The only worrying thing is that Michael is now going to start coming to the attention of maybe bigger clubs. I think the West Ham thing has already been mentioned because they've had a tough season. Maybe the Tottenham job as well, he's a former player there as well, so the links there for him.
But right now while things are going well, I think he's learning his craft. I think he's got a really good vehicle in Middlesborough. I wouldn't see him anywhere in the near future looking to go into Premier League while he's still learning on the job, so to speak.
It's been incredible what he's done. It's great to see Woody [Jonathan Woodgate] in there alongside him as well. A 'boro lad who can give him the insight into the sort of boro' mentality as well. So yeah, it's been nothing short of miraculous.
It's a tough one to get into the automatic ones, because Sheffield United are in the box seat, but I think they've got problems away from the pitch.
Boro' have really started putting pressure on them. The one at Sheffield United a few weeks ago really made a statement. And, yeah, if they slip up, then Boro' are primed to take that automatic slot.
The football they're playing right now, you would say they would have to be favourites to get up by the playoffs. But as we know, in playoffs, it doesn't always work out that the best team wins. So it can be sometimes a bit of a lottery. You can be the best side and lose to whatever.
But, yeah, you'd say we would be favourites, we would be favourites at this present time to go up through the playoffs, but as I say it doesn't always happen that way.
He's got to be in the England camp to get the minutes. I think he's missed this one.
He's in the form of his life, Marcus, at the moment. He's scoring goals, he's creating goals. He's a real threat from where he was last season to where he is this. They're a million miles away from each other.
He looked devoid of confidence. His body language. He was struggling with his body language a little bit last year, I would suggest.
And I think, from what I understand, he's taken on himself. He may not get involved with as many things off the field. I think he looked to make himself stronger during the close season. I think the benefits are there for everybody to see.
I think Gareth likes to pick players that are in-form, so if he was there to be picked during these last internationals, I'm sure he would have got minutes on the pitch.
But that's an area of the pitch, isn't it, where we've got so much talent on the wide berths. So he's not the only one who's probably got to be patient there.
Well, according to Gareth, there's a dearth of talent anyways. [laughs]
Listen, I think we've got a really good squad of players. We've got some real talent in there. When you look at [Bukayo] Saka, you look at [Phil] Fodon, you look at [Marcus] Rashford, [Harry] Kane.
I guess you'd say, who'd be the one to take over from Kane when he starts maybe becoming too old for England? Who'll be the next centre forward? Ivan Tony is in there at the moment. We haven't really had a chance to see how we would fare at the innational level, but that real top-class striker like Harry Kane, I'm not sure there's anybody really in the wings.
You've got Jude Bellingham coming through in that team as well. Who we all know he's looking like he's going to be a massive talent. One of the finest in Europe, quite possibly.
I like what I see with an England squad. With the England squad, they've got a mentality there that knows they can go deep in competitions with maybe a little bit more belief we could potentially win the next tournament.
I know there was always a lot made in the Liverpool v Manchester United thing. I certainly never felt that there was any problem.
You had Robbie Fowler there, Steve McManaman. In my early days, Peter Beardsley, John Barnes, David James, players like that.
I never felt as though there was any kind of issue, but you would sort of, because it was predominantly made up of Liverpool and Manchester United players in an England squad. Then you would find the United lads would sit together because you knew each other and that's just the way things were. You're more familiar with that.
I understand why managers now try to break it up a little bit and get everybody talking. And there has been stuff in the past, I think it was probably after my time, where they said you felt that Liverpool v Manchester United divide in amongst the squad.
But in my experience, I never felt as though it was ever a problem. So my experiences in that were pretty good.
There's no greater pride than playing for England, wearing that shirt, listening to the national anthem and know you're representing your country. I don't think it gets much better.
According to Nev, it was just a freak. I don't know.
Listen, you're looking at the first half, and you say Manchester United have done a decent job. They weathered the early storm, which you probably know you're going to get at Anfield. They've been a team that's been putting a bit of pressure this season from their own performances and the media, and they've been an uncharacteristic Liverpool team.
You have to say they started fast and they started well and could have been up in the game in the early part. And then Manchester United slowly grew into the game at the end of the first half and probably looked the stronger team, but they've conceded what was a rather poor goal and going 1-0 down.
And then it reminded me a little bit of last season. After the second one went in, there seemed to be a lack of belief and that's not the way United have been really, this season.
You have to put your hand up and own it when you get beat 7-0. There's no hiding place. You just had a walloping off the biggest game of the season.
The Liverpool-Manchester United game, for me, is still the biggest game of the season and you've got to live with that.
Was it a freak? Listen, I thought Liverpool played exceptionally well. We played exceptionally badly in that second half. Nobody saw that coming, nobody expected that result.
The worrying part was it reminded you a little bit of last season, in terms of, we sort of looked a bit bewildered once we went 2-0 down. Or even last season when we went 1-0 down, we looked as though we didn't have the fight to get back into a game.
That's not really been the case. They've stood up and been counted all season, really, apart from that Liverpool game. So is it a freak? I think that's detracting from the way Liverpool played. They really hit the straps that day.
Graham Souness had said we were so bullish before the game that Liverpool are going to win this game, they're going to arrive at Anfield, they know that the fact that they've been getting and they would use that as motivation, and that's exactly what they did. And you've got to live with that.
I think it was my third game. We got beat 5-1 off Man City in 1989. I lived with that for a number of years, until we eventually beat them 5-0 at Old Trafford in 1994, I think it was. So that was the only comeback I had from that 5-1 defeat.
Difficult one to put behind you because it means so much to United fans, but you've got a Champions League spot to play for. You've got the FA Cup and the Europa League to play for. So you can't dwell on the fact that you've been given a hiding. You’ve got to put that to bed and remember what's made you a strong team all season.
Oh, God. What is the answer… I couldn't actually tell you what the answer to that was.!
I watched defenders like Maldini, which Vincent company here, I thought he was exceptional. Yapstown for Manchester native is exceptional.
I suppose these rocks, these giants, they just give the fans a kind of comfortable failure that when they're in situ, everything's taken care of. And I think the best players probably emit that kind of solidity safety.
I don't know, whatever you want to get just the feeling that everything's under control. And I think that's an aura maybe give up on the pitch and maybe an aura the giver would give to the players they're playing against as well, because you usually get very short change from players like that.
Yeah, I think that's the kind of aura the build up more of an.
Possibly, yeah. I don't know. A very difficult question.
You can go back to Bobby Mower. You think to be an exceptional defender you would need pace to be able to deal with these players that have pace. But Bobby Moore just read the game ever so well, was there before.
They use the pace to get there. So it's a football brain, an understanding of the game, a level head and just working things out in real time and being sharper than the player you're playing against. And obviously people like Bobby Moore did that.
Not to be overly confident because it can rise up and kick you in the book, in the game of football, just when you think you got it all sorted and you're quite comfortable in your own self belief that the game can come up with a shock.
So never take it for granted, never feel as though you're perfect, never feel as though you've you've got it all, you know, I mean, all work down all side sort, because it can, it can shock your football.
You know, you have bad days and learn to to and learn to roll with the bad days as well as the good. Not get too downhearted when you've had a bad game, not get overly confident when you know you've had a good game and try and treat every game as level headed as you can sort of thing.
Because I think that happened possibly in my early point in my career when I started I started getting linked with the bigger teams when I was at Middlesbrough. And you start getting a little bit cocky and you start getting a bit overconfident, you got it all in hand and the game can, as I say, the game can shock you and give you a staff reminder that it's not easy.
There's people always out there trying to make you look a fool. Just try and deal with it with as a level head as you possibly can on that.
Two injuries. Well, two injuries certainly was a player in the Class of 92, a lad called Ben Thornley, who broken through in the first team, as did all MSA.
Laughs scholesy buddy Nev. He was the same age as M Three. He broke into the first team really quick, really direct, looked as though he had a big future in front of him and got a shocking injury against Blackburn in the reserve game one night. The tackle finished his career and I don't think Ben was ever the same again.
As I spoke about cruise ship ligaments, the change, roy Kane became a different player after he had his cruise ship. Didn't maybe have the same Dynamism, but more as a whole midfielder after he'd been a rampage in midfielder for Manchester.
Right. I think I've got my ends on the thing. Ben Thornley was the guy, I would say, and that was due to injury, that he never really got up to the he still made a decent living in the game, but he certainly played more games for Manchester United and more games in the top flight. If he had a steer clear of injury.
Oh, the ones that did make it, no, not really, because they all brought something to the party.
You could see Scholesy had the vision, pex had the quality of delivery. Nev was a leader. He was the captain of that team centre half. You could sort of see he's the one that respected the more intelligent of the ones, but he had the tenacity, the aggression, even as a 17 and 18 year old kid you trained with. But he wasn't afraid of rattling the big name players who were already at United. So that mentality was always in there with him.
And you knew, we kind of knew that they were all going to come through and play a big part in the first team or beat it, you know, I mean, that step up from junior football, reserve team football, to the pressures of life in the first team at Old Trafford, you still have to see how they would handle that.
But in terms of the quality, maturity and ability, I don't think you had any real doubts. It was just how they would progress, sort of to the next level. Yeah. You felt as though you may be throwing Chris Casper into that.
He was another player that I think he maybe had injuries as well, which kind of curtailed his career. He was coming through and looking like a classy centre half, but he never really I think it was injuries, maybe that contained his career as well.
But the other lads. Yeah, I mean, we'd be talking about him for such a long time because Eric Harrison, when we would sit with him in the coaches room, he would tell us that we're going to take all the large places eventually and he wasn't wrong.
Hard work, tough. He was a bit of a taskmaster in terms of driving you and pushing you to win games, to win trophies, to have the right attitude, to look after yourself, not saying it wasn't fun as well at times, because we had he could be quite jovial as well.
I used to play cards at the back of the bus with him on on trips on the bus with, like, Rob Warren Bruce and Brian McLaren. I used to play hearts together, so it wasn't as if he was distant from the players, but if he was angry, you'd want to stay away from him during the day or during a training session or whatever, but it was perfect for Manchester United.
The drive, as I say, was something he tried to instil in the players, the mentality of the team. Never be happy with one trophy, you have to go again the next season. He demanded more and more of you.
So, yeah, it was tough, it could be mentally exhausting at times, but when you're winning trophies at the end of the season, it was all worthwhile, obviously. Positive thoughts about his style of leading, but, yeah, it could be tough at times.
What? Brian was still a young manager when I went to Middlesbrough. He didn't maybe have the experience that Salix did, but they both wanted to play and entertaining brand of football, which was great as a football. And when I went there, we wanted to attack and we wanted to score goals and we wanted to be an entertaining kind of team.
And fully enough, that's what I like to do as a centre half. I was a centre forward as a kid and kind of always wanted to be in a team that played attractive and entertaining football, even though it maybe left you a little bit open at the back. You don't have the protection of ever sitting midfielder, possibly.
Different in a way, I think, yeah. I think mainly it was down to the experience that Fergie Gleaned over a number of years, obviously, being at Aberdeen, being at a couple of clubs before that, he came to United with an incredible record of breaking up the party between the all firm clubs.
So that reputation was already in place, whereas probably Rob always was still trying to make a reputation as a manager.
Was kind of off the pitch, I think. And it was when I was playing with England and we were playing against Cameroon.
Graham Taylor was in charge, I was on the bench, and the game was in doubt before on the evening because it was minus whatever. And anyway, the game got the nod, it went ahead and it was freezing, it was Baltic.
So I went out to do the warm up before the game, cheque me studs, as you do, and I must have had about five layers of clothing on to stop the cold. So I came back in, sat through the team talk, team went out, played the game with 15 minutes to left. 15 minutes left.
Graham Till says, pally, get warmed up. Right down the track, did a quick 2 minutes warm up. He said, Right, get stripped, you're on.
So I took all these five levels of clothing off and I forgot to put my shirt on. So the kitman's looking at me, I'm just looking, I'm shaking me and he's gone, oh no, I've now got to go and tell the boss that you haven't got your shirt. So he went and talked room tail.
He wasn't best pleased and the Kickman had to run back to the rest of the room to pick my shirt up to bring it.
So I only got about 5 minutes on the pitch at the time, so I found that quite funny. Later on maybe, not so much at the time...