Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to learn former Reds Reserves goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler made his full Germany debut last Friday night.
Zieler, who spent almost five years at Old Trafford before signing for Bundesliga side Hannover 96 in July 2010, played 90 minutes for the national team in an entertaining 3-3 draw in Ukraine. When informed of the achievement by ManUtd.com, the boss’s face lit up with genuine pride.
“Did he really?” Sir Alex asked. “That’s fantastic. I must send him a message.”
Zieler, now 22, was at United from age 16 to 21 although never made a first-team appearance. He didn’t play for Hannover’s first-team either until January 2011.
But since then, Zieler has impressed tremendously and consolidated his position as Hannover No.1. And although Zieler was released by United, his ascension to the Germany national team hasn’t come as a complete surprise to Sir Alex.
"He got an injury here in the Reserves and was out for about eight months," the Reds manager said. "Unfortunately, when he came back, Ben Amos had jumped ahead of him in the pecking order.
"I’m really pleased to hear this news, though. I’m glad he’s doing well.
"We helped Ron-Robert orchestrate his move to Hannover. We had a scout over there at the time and I gave him a call. He then came across, spoke to Ron and got the Hannover coach across to Manchester to watch him train.
"They were happy to take him and we were delighted to organise that move for him. He’s since come on leaps and bounds and is obviously doing fantastically.
"He always worked hard and he’s a very nice lad."