"Eric came here and changed football. He changed the mentality and changed the way of everything."

- Peter Schmeichel, ManUtd.com

28/11/2012 09:50, Report by Adam Marshall

Eric 'changed football'

Peter Schmeichel believes Eric Cantona's arrival from Leeds United "changed football".

The legendary goalkeeper played with the Frenchman and was between the posts when the Reds won the Double in both 1994 and 1996.

Cantona signed 20 years ago and helped transform the fortunes of a club seeking to recover past glories.

"I remember this day," Schmeichel told ManUtd.com. "It was a day that changed everything for us players as well. Eric came in and was someone Sir Alex knew was going to do really well here. His managing speaks volumes again in his ability to manage Eric really well. Eric had many clubs before he came and finished his career here having had five years – four brilliant full years."

Cantona's winning mentality and work ethic was filtered down to the younger players attempting to break into the first-team squad. 

"Eric came here and changed football," he added. "He changed the mentality and changed the way of everything. All the kids we’ve seen grow up with Manchester United from that period, they’ve really benefited from that and you could go and speak to David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes about him. They will always point to him as he was the guy.

"That was something Sir Alex saw. No-one else saw it. Trevor Francis had the opportunity at Sheffield Wednesday and he didn’t even give him a chance. Howard Wilkinson took him in but was very, very happy to sell him because he was difficult. But Sir Alex was not like that. For him, he might have been a challenge but he took that challenge and the rest is history."

More: Fotherby recalls Cantona call | November 1992 BC (Before Cantona)


Premier League