In part two of this 2006 interview, Eric Cantona discussed the benefits of Sir Alex Ferguson's long-term focus and explained why he still loves United and English football...
You played with and helped nurture the original crop of ‘Fergie Fledglings’ during the mid-nineties. What are your thoughts on the current group of promising young stars in the squad?
Although United have not been champions for the past three years, Sir Alex has two very talented youngsters in Rooney and Ronaldo who will continue to learn every season. United are the perfect club at which to improve as a young player - you are part of a big club that competes to win the Championship nearly every year and you are able to play in the Champions League virtually every year. United are the biggest club in the world yet they still spend time working with young players and give them the chance to learn. Not a lot of great clubs provide this kind of opportunity – maybe United are the only one. If I was an 18-year-old youngster with a great talent and all the big clubs in the world wanted me, I’d pick United because I’d know I would get the chance to play for a top club in all of the big competitions and yet still have the opportunity to work and learn in a good atmosphere. Of course there is pressure at a club like United but it’s a positive pressure rather than the negative kind. Sir Alex has drawn comparisons between yourself and Rooney in terms of influencing the team.
For one so young have you been surprised by the level of influence that Wayne has on the side?
He has a lot of influence on the team because he is a great talent. But he is still young and you cannot expect everything from a man who is just 20-years-old compared to a player that is 25 or 26. Nevertheless, he has all the qualities to become one of the best and maybe even the best player in the world. It’s sometimes difficult to say the best because one year it’s one player and the following year it’s someone else. But I certainly believe he can become one of the best in the world for a long time.
What advice would you give to Wayne on becoming the best?
To be one of the best players in the world you have to take the game seriously, very seriously. You have to make sacrifices because talent is only a small percentage of success. A bit of luck is important but after that it’s about mental strength. You have to eat sensibly, drink sensibly - I mean water! - train hard and go to bed early. All