EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

20/07/2012 09:05, Report by Nick Coppack
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Bailey: Reds are massive in SA

fire the imagination of people. Here was an English lad, brought up in South Africa, playing for Manchester United. Of course, there was also Bruce Grobbelaar, who's from nearby Zimbabwe, at Liverpool, so what you find when you meet the older football fans is that they're either United or Liverpool supporters. In the modern era, when we get every game in every competition, people have a lot more exposure to other teams so you see a few different shirts around the place. Even a few Manchester City fans have come out of the woodwork!

What was pre-season like when you played with United?
All we did was run, run, run. We'd run up big hills and then back down again - the last person back would have to do it again. Looking back, it seems so antiquated. Why were we not learning from other countries who had already embraced sports science? The Italians were ahead of us and America was way ahead - they had masseurs and sports psychologists even then. We just turned up at pre-season and were told to run. And as a goalkeeper, that didn't do me an awful lot of good.

Did you have a specialist goalkeeper coach?
I did when I first arrived. Harry Gregg helped me out because I'd always had one in South Africa. Then when Ron Atkinson arrived he didn't want one. That was a problem for me because goalkeepers play in a specialist position and we have a lot of unique needs. We also have a lot of psychological issues! When goals go in and your players, your fans and your manager hate you, sometimes you need a bit of support. Generally, the goalkeeper coach is a good person to sit down with and talk things through. They help to put things into perspective.

What's your assessment of the current goalkeeping situation at the club?
Each one has his own qualities. David De Gea is a wonderful shot-stopper and he's also very composed and confident with the ball at his feet. He's done a lot in football when you consider he's only young. It's unusual for goalkeepers to blossom so early, but he's an exceptional talent. The only thing David needs to get used to is the physical nature of English football; it's very different to the Spanish game. Anders is a little older and I think sometimes you need that experience. He's great in the air and commands his penalty area. They're two fantastic goalkeepers and they keep each other on their toes. The manager has a tough choice to make when it comes to picking the right man to start.

MUTV will screen an another exclusive interview with Gary Bailey in the coming days.

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