Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the job done by Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and insisted his former player always had a will to be a manager.
Fortunes on the pitch at Old Trafford have changed since the 79-year-old retired eight years ago after he won 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues during a remarkable reign at the club.
Solskjaer, who helped the Scot enjoy huge success with the Red Devils as a player, is now the man tasked with trying to get United back on top and – with a second top-four finish secured and a place in the Europa League final – signs of progress under the Norwegian are clear, while several academy graduates have also been blooded into the first team.
Ferguson told BBC Sport: “Even as a young reserve, even when he was on the bench, he would take notes of the training sessions. He had a will that he wanted to be a manager and at a club like Manchester United, it’s a result industry, without question.
“If you don’t get results there’s questions to be asked. He is getting the results, he really has done very well. And what is really important for this club is to introduce young people, and he’s given young players a chance.
“That will always be the foundation of Manchester United, from Matt Busby, from Alex Ferguson and to what Ole is doing, the young guys, if they are good enough, play them. Never a problem at this club.”
Since Ferguson retired, neighbours Manchester City have become the dominant force in English football and rivals Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title in 2020.
The Glaswegian, who will star in a documentary made by his son Jason which is released next month, paid tribute to City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, but insisted he would have no trouble being a manager in the modern era.
“I personally don’t think so,” Ferguson said when asked if he would find it harder to be involved in today’s game.
“I think I had something in me that was bound to get me somewhere in life. I’m not being boastful, but I think I had that personality to do well, the drive and the hunger and the energy.
“Even when I got into my 60s I wanted the players to really see my energy.
“I think there are young people out there with a drive like you see with Klopp for instance, and the drive he’s brought to Liverpool, and Pep Guardiola with the job he’s done at City…there’s a place for people with the right credentials, and the right material to do well.”
A two-time winner of the Champions League, Ferguson also voiced his disapproval of the collapsed European Super League, which United were set to be part of before the six English clubs involved pulled out on April 20 – 48 hours after the inception of the controversial competition.
He added: “You cannot ever forget that the real reason for football was that the smallest guy can climb to the top of Everest, and that’s the best way I can put that. We can’t do without that really.”