Do we look to ensure we have good characters as well as good footballers?
I think so. That probably comes from the manager, Sir Alex, as he insists on good behaviour from the players. If I can say something on the subject, I’m never very happy with those who let the name of the club down. So we’re always looking for that side.
Danny Welbeck is a classic example of a player coming all the way through the system. Is he a good role model?
Well, we have a steady stream of boys who go on to do pretty well. Tom Cleverley would have been in the England squad if his season had not been so blighted by injury.
So are those two held up as proof that the youngsters can aim high?
Of course. It helps us to show them there is a conveyor belt to the top if you like. Even the boys who don’t reach the top, there’s so many of them in the Football League who are having good careers.
You took over the reins once from Sir Alex for the Middlesbrough game in the Treble-winning season…
He had to go away to a funeral in Glasgow quite urgently so it wasn’t perhaps my usual performance as I took over at the time. I had managed Luton but I don’t think I ever wanted to be a manager.
Of course, the Hatters promoted you from Reserves boss so was it not something you were looking to do?
Yeah, they promoted me as they sacked the previous manager. I think it was because they were trying to cut back and sell all the top players they had at the time. We had a pretty good team but it was something of an economy drive.
Were there elements of the job you did enjoy?
I actually did enjoy it. We sold all the senior players like Mick Harford and Danny Wilson, and also Les Sealey who came here to United. So we promoted all the Reserves practically who I’d just been coaching. It turned out to be experienced people like David Preece and a couple of the other senior players but mostly the Reserves who had moved up.