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The Survivors From The Fergie Era

Manchester United have gone through what you could call a transitional period in the last few years and it wasn’t until last season that Reds around the world really seen some progress, with Jose Mourinho leading the side to glory in both the EFL Cup and Europa League. Sir Alex Ferguson made some incredible signings during his time at Old Trafford but how many of the Scotsman’s recruits remain at Manchester United in 2017?

One player who remains at Manchester United from Fergie’s time at Old Trafford is Michael Carrick. On the 28th July 2006, Tottenham Hotspur announced they had agreed terms with United for the transfer of the 25-year-old central midfielder. Carrick was touted as Roy Keane’s ‘replacement’, many fans of the club were left slightly bemused when they saw his playing style. They had gone from the aggressive, all-action presence of Roy Keane to a softer, more elegant midfielder.

However, Manchester United fans more than ten years on now realise and appreciate just how good the Englishman is. He has been crucial to United’s biggest successes since he’s joined and now is a massive influence in the dressing room with what he’s achieved and the experience he has. Jose Mourinho trusts the veteran and played him in United’s biggest games last season but now Nemanja Matic has signed and Carrick has been used sparingly as he is now 36 but there is no doubt his experience can prove to be key throughout this season.

Another player who joined Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson who has proven to be a great servant to the club is Antonio Valencia. The winger turned full-back is now a crucial cog in the Mourinho wheel and was also a very effective winger during his time under the former-Aberdeen boss. The Ecuadorian has proven to be quite the hit with the fans at full-back with his explosive pace and dynamism combined with his unearthly strength and athleticism, allowing him to charge up and down the line conquering all those in his way. Since Mourinho took over, he has adapted his play style slightly and learned the defensive side of the game from a more tactical perspective, making him one of Europe’s top right backs.

Ashley Young may not have played under Ferguson for very long but showed his qualities when he did. Another very versatile player who also seems to have converted from winger to full-back has been reborn under the Portuguese tactician. Young seems to be trusted by Mourinho and with good reason too as whenever he asks him to play a certain role, Young seems to fill that role with great effectiveness and covers every blade of grass for his manager. Crossing appeared to be a real struggle at the beginning of the season but as soon as the 32-year-old, that all seemed to change as he whipped in numerous dangerous crosses, creating chances left, right and centre. The defender already has two assists in five games. Mourinho and fans alike will be hoping Ashley Young can continue his excellent start to the season.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are two more players who still remain at Old Trafford from the days when Fergie sat in the manager’s dugout. Both have had probably more than their fair share of criticism during their time at United. Chris Smalling was originally meant to be part of the duo that would replace Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as mentioned in Ferguson’s book, ‘My Autobiography’.

But it’s fair to say he may not have reached the lofty heights Fergie first expected him to, considering the struggle he’s had trying to get some game time under his belt this season. As for Jones, he has had a tough time with injuries but appears to have found some consistency despite some scares. Jones has been a mainstay in the United team this season, partnering Bailly in the majority of Premier League games this season. There is still some hope for Phil Jones to become a top defender in England. Smalling’s future, on the other hand, seems to be filled with less hope and optimism than his fellow countryman.

Last but definitely not least is David De Gea. The Spaniard has developed from a youngster unable to adapt to English football to one of the best goalkeepers in the world at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. De Gea no doubt took time to adjust to the Premier League, but Fergie’s patience has most definitely paid off. The keeper’s time under Van Gaal seems to be the period in which he really blossomed into a top goalkeeper. It seems he can only get better, with the manner in which he’s started the 2017/18 season, earning six clean sheets and only conceding two goals in the Premier League so far.

It appears Sir Alex Ferguson’s recruits that remain at Manchester United have proved to be worthy servants of the club. All six players have made a combined total of over 1,000 appearances for United. The Govan-born manager was undoubtedly a top judge of character, in addition to being a world class manager.

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