As expected he was not backward in coming forwards.
ON UNITED’S NEW SIGNINGS
“Phil Jones could end up being gold for the club. I look at his character, I look at the way he adapted to the Premier League and playing in big games – particularly the ones against us in the last year or two. His age, his attitude, the fact that everyone who speaks about him says he is a solid character, no messing around. He looks to me like someone who has the potential to be a huge physical presence for the team, who who will grow in stature.
“I think he could be a future captain. He has got that leadership presence about him.
“As for Ashley Young I see this move as the next step for him in his career. You look at players like Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney - by joining United they were going to that next level where you are looking to win every match.
“This is now Ashley Young’s moment. I think he is someone with great potential, great feet, can play on either wing, the right age, and experience of playing for England.”
“I’ve not seen much of David de Gea but for the club to sign him at such a young age to replace the great Edwin Van Der Sar shows incredible faith in him.
“I know the goalkeeping coach Eric Steele is very meticulous and will have done his research on him.
“I genuinely believe there will be more signings particularly in the midfield area because we have lost (Paul) Scholes and (Owen) Hargreaves, so there are two players less in that department.
“The success never stops. The manager will always replace players but never like-for-like, it will always be a different way of things and I think that will happen this time.”
ON CATCHING BARCELONA
“I remember in 1996 and 1997 we were absolutely streets behind Juventus. The biggest murdering I ever got on a football pitch was away to Juventus in ‘96.
“We didn’t have a shot on goal all match. They were the best in Europe for two or three years. Everyone said they were untouchable and they were.
“But we progressed. We had young players who strived to get to their level and eventually you get there. You climb that mountain and it is tough. But I think we will progress and get there.
“I think the likes of Man United and Real Madrid will get past Barcelona in the next two years.
“Next season will be tougher for them because teams like United and others will learn. Things go in cycles.”
ON PAUL SCHOLES
“He’s gone too early for me because, as a fan, I would like to see him play every single game. He mesmerises me with the way he plays football. So simple and yet so brilliant.
“But for him it is the right time. He is someone who doesn’t like fuss. He is set in his ways and when he makes a decision he will stick to it.
“He didn’t like sitting on the bench but he felt it was the right time for him to retire and that is the most important thing.
“He has got such incredible high standards, and he is tough on himself.
“I’m not sure what is coaching role is going to be but I’m sure he will grow into it and surprise a lot of people.”
ON LAST SEASON’S TITLE TRIUMPH
“If you had asked me in October would we win the league I would have replied ‘I’m not sure’. That was not being negative.
"It was based on the way we were playing away from home at that time, the fact we were picking up injuries, we were not consistent, we were conceding goals our play was not of a high standard.
“But then you should always rely on the fact that Manchester United hang in there.
“I remember my last game at West Brom, we were a disaster.
“How we won that match I will never know. But then that is Manchester United.
“It has defined our last 15-20 years, winning when we don’t play well, finding a way to win and then come February and March the team hits form.
“In October Chelsea were double winners and they were six or seven points clear, Arsenal were playing well at that point and you thought this could be tough for us this year. So it was a great championship triumph.”
ON TOUGHEST OPPONENTS
“Whenever you played against Brazilian forwards you always knew you were in for a tough game. They just seemed to have a change of direction, a technical ability that was just difficult to read and defend against.
“I think in the Premier League they were all tough at times. I would never go into game thinking it was going to be easy. You know (Marc) Overmars, (David) Ginola, (Damien) Duff, (Arjen) Robben - those were tough opponents.”
ON BLANK STARES IN THE TUNNEL
“I never shook hands with the other team in the tunnel before a game and never looked across. I never did it when I was 12 and I never did it when I was 16. You see some foreign players hug each other and kiss each other. For me, I was going out onto the pitch to play and after the game I’ll shake their hand.
“I never really went in for that sort of stuff. It was always made out to be more than it meant to be honest with you. I just never did it. Even before England matches I was always just straight-faced.”
ON MANCHESTER CITY
“I don’t really wish they (City) had been contenders in my day. Whoever was in contention it was tough, it didn’t matter who they were – it was always a case of trying to beat the team you played against.
“Manchester United take every team seriously. Especially the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man City.”