Date: 26th August 2008 at 7:17pm
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The list is long. Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona, Alex McLeish, Mark McGhee, Roy Keane – all ex-players of Sir Alex Ferguson and all have stayed in football to go into management.

Ryan Giggs, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Gary Neville are the latest additions to the bunch though two of them are still playing. And there’s another player within the ranks at Old Trafford who considers himself tailor-made for management: current captain Rio Ferdinand.

‘I love football so I’m sure I’ll be involved in the game in one way, shape or form,’ said Ferdinand.

‘As I get older, management seems the direction that I’d like to see myself in.’

So, another one. What does it tell us? Three things I think.

First, Fergie is looking for players who love the game as much as he does, no, for players who are as obsessed with the game as he is. These are the ones who cannot contemplate quitting football entirely and end up trying themselves in management with varied success.

Secondly, his influence over his players is tremendous. His obsession must be infectious. The way he analyses the game, the way he talks about it, the way he puts it above everything: this zealous drive must rub off on his players.

And, thirdly, he’s obviously got the necessary contacts, he can put the aspiring candidates in touch with a few people! But that can be expected after being around for 22 years…

And how will Ferdinand fare as manager? You never know – he possesses great leadership qualities but so does Bryan Robson if you know what I mean.