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NI Player Hails ‘Regime Of The Best Manager In Football, Alex Ferguson’

Former United player Oliver Norwood praised his former manager after Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 success.

Sir Alex Ferguson retired over two years ago now, but his influence has helped Northern Ireland qualify for their first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

No less than six of the squad’s players came through the ranks at Old Trafford – with defender Paddy McNair the only player remaining at the club.

Jonny and Corry Evans, Norwood, Craig Cathcart and Luke McCullough all spent spells under Alex Ferguson’s regime before moving on.

Reading midfielder Norwood is convinced the ethos instilled by Ferguson still influences the sextet.

“It might sound silly, but the United lads were brought up properly,” he said.

“We worked under the regime of the best manager who’s ever managed in football, Sir Alex Ferguson. What he passed through that club – to the youth team, to every academy boy – that’s something we can look back on with pride.

We were all together there and now we’re all together here at Northern Ireland.”

A key concept of the regime is staying grounded, Norwood revealed.

“We were brought up in a proper football club, training every day with world-class players, but seeing they’re just normal people. I don’t think you’ll ever see a ‘big time Charlie’ coming out of that Manchester United system because it’s not allowed there.”

The positive effects has not been lost on NI manager Michael O’Neill either.

“There’s a number of our players who have that same good grounding.” 

“They may have come away from Manchester United, but they’ve fought back from that disappointment and developed careers for themselves.

Some of them, like Cathcart, are back in Premier League and some are in the Championship, but now they’re here performing on the international stage and they’re going to get the chance to go to a major finals,” O’Neill concluded.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.