Beckham: I was to blame for Fergie rift
DAVID BECKHAM accepts he made mistakes in his time at Manchester United that led to a breakdown in relations with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Beckham progressed from the youth ranks to become one of the biggest stars at Old Trafford, but was sold by Ferguson to Real Madrid in 2003.
Beckham accepts that his celebrity status and marriage to Spice Girl Victoria gave Ferguson cause to doubt his professionalism.
Speaking about his life and career on BBC Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs, he said: “At 41, I’d like to think that I’m more grown-up and a little wiser than when I was 21. There were certain decisions I made back then that were wrong and I can see why the manager got so frustrated by certain things.
“All the manager ever wanted was the best for the team, the best for the club and the best for the individual.”
Beckham and Ferguson’s most public falling-out came in 2003 when Ferguson kicked a boot that left him with a cut above the eye. Beckham described it as a “freak accident”.
But it was Ferguson who provided Beckham with much-needed reassurance following his sending-off during England’s World Cup quarterfinal loss to Argentina in 1998.
“The first person to call me after that game was Sir Alex Ferguson,” said the former England captain, whose England caps were his luxury item. “He said: ‘Son, get back to Manchester, you’ll be fine’. And that gave me strength to get through probably the toughest time I’ve been through.” BASTIAN Schweinsteiger enjoyed a memorable Manchester United return, wrapping up a comprehensive FA Cup fourth-round win against Wigan on his first start for more than a year.
Few expected to see the 32-year-old in the club’s colours again after being frozen out by Jose Mourinho, falling so far down the pecking order that the club even wrote him off as an asset in their accounts.
However, Schweinsteiger has surprisingly returned from the cold and capped his first United start since January 9, 2016, by hooking home the FA Cup holders’ final goal of a 4-0 win against Wigan.
Eyebrows were raised at the former Germany capt ain’s inclusion, compounded by the rust visible in the opening stages against Warren Joyce’s well-drilled side.
However, Schweinsteiger’s fine cross brought with it Marouane Fellaini’s opening goal just before half-time, from which a much-changed United returned brightly.
Anthony Martial, given a chance to shine at Old Trafford, set-up Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan goals, before Schweinsteiger brought the biggest cheer of the afternoon by turning home from close range.
Mourinho confirmed that Schweinsteiger will be staying at Manchester United for the remainder of the season but Ashley Young could leave before the January transfer window shuts tomorrow.
The United manager, however, would not get drawn on speculation about Wayne Rooney’s future as he spoke to media after his side’s comfortable FA Cup fourth-round win over Wigan at Old Trafford.
Rooney, who became United’s record goalscorer earlier this month, was the subject of fresh reports linking him with a move to China yesterday morning.
But it was the future of Schweinsteiger, who scored in the 4-0 defeat of Championship Wigan on his first start for more than a year, which was made the clearest.
Mourinho said of the German: “Yes, he is staying. He is going to [be included on] the Europa League list because we opened spaces with [Memphis] Depay and [Morgan] Schneiderlin [leaving] and we don’t have many players, and we don’t have many options in midfield.
“Ninety minutes [against Wigan] was probably too hard for him, from minutes 65-70 it was hard for him but now I think he is happy.
“He was a good professional when he was not playing, and after having some minutes he will be the same. With so many competitions and games he will be an option.”
Mourinho deflected a question about Wayne Rooney in his post-match press conference by speaking about former England internationalist Young.
He said: “The only player that I am aware of a possibility to leave, and I am waiting for January 31 to know what is going on, is Ashley Young, a player I would love to keep.
“I am not happy if he leaves, but he is the only player that I am informed has a possibility of leaving. That is why he didn’t play and I gave chances to other people, because I don’t know if he is going to stay.
“If I could choose, definitely yes he would stay with us.”
That answer may not quell speculation concerning Rooney, particularly with the Chinese transfer deadline not until the end of February and not Tuesday, as is the case domestically.
I’M BACK: Bastian Schweinsteiger (right) celebrates his goal with Wayne Rooney.