Roy Keane in 1993. Roy was a different player and added a new dimension but, this time, in the centre of the park. He was just as effective tracking back in the defending third as he was going forward. That’s what Sir Alex does and what makes the difference in training and around the place. Everyone knew about Roy at Nottingham Forest and had seen his goals and lung-busting runs and we appreciated what a good player he was.
"It’s a case of lifting the players with something different and City didn’t do that. Coaches are getting wiser and wiser tactically and you have to find something different or even a lesser side will stop you scoring. City have found it difficult to break teams down in virtually every game they’ve played and it has become a battle for them. But it’s got to be the right character that comes in – Mario Balotelli was clearly a negative influence – and you can’t keep buying in bulk. It doesn’t work and has never worked. Look at Mark Hughes at QPR."
The ex-England international, currently working as a TV pundit in Singapore, thinks it is the hunger instilled in the squad from the manager that keeps United chasing silverware season after season.
"United may not appear to have City's spending power but what they do have is players who know each other inside out and a manager who knows how to get the best out of them on the pitch," he explained. "It may not be that easy to win the league once and you gain respect for it but, for everybody to take you seriously, you have to retain it.
"All of a sudden, people think: ‘Wow, here we go’. I was fortunate enough to play for United when we won the league and, at the start of pre-season, the manager warned us all that we had not done anything at all because we’d only just scratched the surface.