Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson was a world-class motivator and Gary Neville offered an insight into a trick the Scot used which could have a similar effect on struggling Jadon Sancho
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Sir Alex Ferguson’s “understated” one-to-one conversations with fringe players were key to the Scotsman’s ability to extract quality out of all of his players.
The legendary United boss’ man-management and communication skills were revered around the footballing world during his 27-year reign at Old Trafford.
Neville, who spent his entire career working under Ferguson, has offered a glimpse into how the legendary Scotsman spoke to the players who were not getting too many opportunities in the starting XI.
And the former right-back praised Ferguson’s less is more conversational approach to help put players at ease and allow them to relax about their situation.
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“I always say, it was the most important moment in my life when Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to you,” Neville said to Sport Bible.
“And there’s not, there’s none of these great speeches. This is what it’s gonna be like, to play for Manchester United, tonight.
“It’s very understated, when you’re breaking into the team, you know.
“’I’m gonna put you on the bench tonight, son,’ and then he’ll go, “Is that okay?” he added.
“And I’ll go, ‘Yeah, thanks.’ And that’s it, you know. It’s not like this major monumental moment.
“He wouldn’t play it up. He wouldn’t build it up, so that you get more nervous.”
It is perhaps a conversation current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might have had himself with Ferguson after taking on the role of super sub in his playing days.
During his playing days with the Reds, Solskjaer was dubbed the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’, due to his incredible knack of coming off the bench and scoring and youthful facial features.
The Norwegian scored a staggering 28 goals after being substituted into matches, one of which was his iconic winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich to seal the Treble.
His playing career at United also ended in poetic fashion, with another goal off the bench for the Reds.
Manchester United via Getty Imag)
Unfortunately for Solskjaer, he has struggled to instil that same rigour and character into United in the same way his former manager did.
The Red Devils have lost six of their last 12 matches and currently trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by nine points.
He also has an alarming number of players who are currently low on confidence and one of those players is his most expensive summer signing Jadon Sancho.
The young Englishman arrived from Borussia Dortmund with a huge reputation and an even bigger £73m price tag.
But he is yet to register a single goal or assist for the Reds in 13 appearances and has had to acquaint himself with the United substitute’s bench in recent weeks.
Sancho is not the only United fringe player who has struggled to rediscover his confidence this season, with Donny van de Beek is another player who has spent the vast majority of the season watching from the sidelines.
The Dutchman was a £34m signing from Ajax in the summer of 2020, but he has only made 21 Premier League appearances over the course of two seasons at Old Trafford.
With confidence at an all-time low, Solskjaer may be wise to use Ferguson’s words to help galvanise the struggling United duo in the way that it calmed Neville.
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