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Sir Alex Ferguson’s secret Greening gesture at Man Utd sums up person he is

Midfielder Jonathan Greening was one of a number of Man Utd youngsters to be handed a first-team debut during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge at the club

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You can almost lose count of the number of former Manchester United players with fond memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, such was his influence at the club.

Not only did the manager lead United to two Champions Leagues and multiple Premier League titles during his time in charge, but he launched the career of countless youngster before ending his time in charge in 2013.

In addition to the academy players who came through in the Class of 92 and beyond, there were those brought to the club as teenagers after impressing elsewhere.

One of these, Jonathan Greening, still has plenty of time for his old manager despite only spending three years at Old Trafford, and the ex-midfielder has spoken about how “brilliant” the old boss was around his debut.

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Jonathan Greening was one of a number of teenagers to play for Man Utd under Ferguson
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Greening joined United from York City in 1998, just a few weeks after his 19th birthday, and ended his first full season with the club as a treble winner the following year.

The youngster was an unused substitute for the Champions League final, but featured for United several times in domestic competitions in 1998-99 and more than 20 times in total before joining Middlesbrough in 2001.

And he will never forget the input of Ferguson ahead of the first of those appearances, in a victory over Bury in the League Cup.









“Ferguson was brilliant with me; I remember on my debut, he didn’t tell me I was playing,” said the midfielder, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Man United v Man City.

“About an hour and a half before kick-off the gaffer finally told me I was starting, and I was like ‘brilliant’.

“I wanted to get in touch with my mum and dad but Fergie had already invited them, along with the rest of my family – without me knowing; so they knew I was making my debut before I did.”

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United won the game in question. a 2-0 victory over Bury with current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring the opener and substitute Erik Nevland hitting the second.

Greening set up the first goal, and will never forget his manager’s part in helping him excel on his first-team bow.

“That was absolutely first class from him, and it brought the best out of me because I think I got man of the match in that game,” he said.

“We won the game and I just remember thinking ‘how lucky am I?’ I’d just played in front of over 60,000 people at Old Trafford, got man of the match and set up a goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; it was just incredible.”


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