Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s autobiography ‘My Autobiography’ has been released, and is sure to be the must-read sports book of 2013.
In the book, the United legend reviews his stellar Old Trafford career, and amongst other intriguing vignettes recalls the infamous falling outs he had with David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rafa Benitez and Wayne Rooney.
Regarding Becks, Fergie says that he had never planned to sell the midfielder to Real Madrid.
He thought Beckham was on course to becoming “a Manchester United legend”, but that he ultimately grew too self-important for the manager’s liking.
“The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go,” Fergie wrote of Beckham.
“David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. That was the death knell for him.”
Intriguingly, Fergie also reveals that when Rooney was trying to muscle his way out of Manchester United, the striker used Fergie’s failure to sign Mesut Ozil as one of the reasons he wanted to go.
Rooney had been demoted by Fergie, and did not want to play as a midfielder. But added to that, he appears to have been disappointed when United let Ozil move to Real Madrid without bidding for him strongly.
Ozil’s contribution so far for Arsenal shows that Rooney may have been right. But Rooney’s own form this season proves that Fergie was correct to drop him when he was firing blanks last season.
"Wayne asked away because he felt he was playing out of position,” Fergie recalls.
"I can understand that. My judgment was that Wayne wasn't playing well enough.
"But when you see him playing like he is, do you think I would drop him? No way. He is England's great white hope and a great player for Manchester United. The player who is playing now is a different player."
Meanwhile, Roy Keane, who is scorned by Fergie in the book, has hit back at his former mentor, claiming the old Scot could learn a thing or two about loyalty.
"I’m okay, I’m quite relaxed about it [Fergie’s criticism], but I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty and, in my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word,” Keane told ITV Sport.
"It doesn’t bother me too much what he has to say about me but to constantly criticise other players at the club who brought him a lot of success, I find very, very strange, but I won’t be losing any sleep over it.
“A lot of these players helped the manager win lots of trophies. Imagine if we’d never won a trophy what he would have said.
"We brought success to the club, we gave it everything we had when we were there, but, as I said, it’s just part of modern life now, people like to do books and criticise their ex-players.”