I think I have almost the perfect relationship with the manager. As the years have gone on I’ve realised what an unbelievable influence Sir Alex has had on my life and my career.
You have defining moments in your life and for me it was actually when I left Manchester United, and the way he handled me leaving. It was done in the manner in which you could only dream of – you’re sitting in the front room of his house and he’s telling you, like a father would tell his son, what you should do with the next stage of your career. It became one of the most special moments of my life.
It was probably the biggest lesson I learned in terms of man-management, of how to handle making a big decision. How to go about it. There are ways and means. When you've had a kid from the age of 10, how to handle that kind of situation. I’m looking to go into management in the next four or five years and I think man-management is the main thing I’ve learned from him. I’ve seen him on numerous occasions since I left and every time they’ve been special moments. You get sweaty palms, like seeing your old school teacher again because you still have that respect for him and he has that aura.
He's the best in the business without a shadow of a doubt. He never panics, never makes rash decisions, always seems to make the right decisions and always gets the best out of his players. And I've not known many players leave United and say a bad word about him.
I’ve been in rooms full of a thousand people, and the only one you see is Sir Alex. It was the same when we were young players. When he was in the building, you knew it. You knew you had to do everything right all the time. Not 99.99 per cent of the time, all the time. His standards were that high.
There’s no secret to his success – it’s just sheer bloody hard work. He demands hard work, he demands you do your best and he demands you respect everyone around you. I wasn't overly close to him when I was there as a player, I wasn't the type to have long, deep chats with him. I think he liked my work ethic, my attitude and what I stood for.