Do you remember the first thing Sir Alex Ferguson said to you in the summer of 2006 when United declared interest in you? How did he imagine your role in the team?
“We did not really talk about it, to be honest. He did not have to sell the club in any way; he did not have to sell it to me in terms of where I played or how I played or anything. As soon as I knew , that they were interested, it was an easy matter: I came anyway.But the first time I met him and went into his office for the first time and had that one-on-one conversation, it was quite nervous.It was more an introduction.He just said, “You will enjoy this. You will love playing for this club. It’s a great club and you play with great players. Hopefully you work hard and improve. You have to live up to the standards we have set over the years. ”
How much can you remember from your first training day with your teammates?
“It was scary! I was 25 at the time, quite established – I had played for England – but going into the United locker room was scary. There were great world-class characters and players. It’s really double. You” you have to fit into the locker room, find your place in there and create relationships – but then you also have to win the boys’ trust on the court through training and games. It’s a big part of integration with And it was scary to have to do it with the players I joined the squad with. But it was also a big challenge and something that I was really excited about. ”
The league campaign was incredibly tight the first year, 2006/07. How did United manage to find an extra gear when they came from behind to overtake Chelsea?
“I think it was a bit of everything. There was a huge faith in each other and the individual self-confidence, and the spirit of the group was incredible. The faith and trust in each other was there, and of course a lot of quality too. Someone would go up when we needed them.We always had players who we thought would create chances and score goals for us, which was a huge thing to have.So we always felt in a match whether we were 1. -0 down or 2-0 down, which we would have opportunities for towards the end of the match. ”
You have mentioned getting a handle on the intensity of training and gaining the trust of your teammates during the first few months. Was there a match or a moment, you thought to yourself: this is where I belong?
“Not really, no, I think it was just over time. Probably the highlight of the first season for me was the Roma match – winning 7-1 at home. But there was a gradual build-up and improvement as time went on and I felt more and more comfortable. I could not really say that there was a moment that stands out. I was just so happy to be here and play with a team that was as good as we were. Tottenham, “where I came from had a good team, but it was such a big leap to play with the team that Thad came with. I was more honored to be on the team and just enjoy the experience.”