’99, 2008 and you can now argue this one that has won the league - people are always going to compare teams and look back; I do it myself sometimes. The most important thing to say about this team is it’s on an upward curve. You’ve got players like De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Cleverley, Welbeck and Hernandez to name eight players who are still young and haven’t reached anywhere near their peak. You’ve also got a mix of players in the middle who are at their peak, then you’ve got the experienced lads at the other end. This team has still not reached its potential. I’m sure there will be additions to the squad this summer so you’re talking about a team on the up. I think Chelsea are going the same way. They’re going to be a big danger next season. I think City have got some manipulating of their squad to do – there will be some toing and froing there. I think United are in a good place. Do they get the credit they deserve? You only get that by repeating success – it’s about winning, winning and winning again.
Sir Alex said at his final press conference that it was always the plan to have the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Schoes and Nicky Butt as part of the coaching structure – how important will their experience and influence be going forward?
You can’t fail when you have people who love the football club and who are knowledgeable, intelligent and passionate about the game. And those three characters are all of the above. I’ve watched a lot of football, particularly in the last two years since I finished playing and listened to a lot of people at different clubs and they’re always searching for good types of people to be involved. Ones they can trust and who love and care for a club and that is what you have with Ryan, Paul and Nicky, all of whom have been around the place for so long.
Have you ever been more excited for the start of a new season?
No! There was an incredible end to this season with all the retirements and Sir Alex in particular retiring. But in some ways it wasn’t the most exciting Premier League season we’ve had with United winning the league with