Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed the three non-United players that he respected the most during his 26-year career as Manchester United manager - Arsenal's Tony Adams, Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola, plus one of United's arch-enemies, Jamie Carragher.
A Liverpool player for the whole of his career, Carragher was always against United, but Ferguson has said that he had the upmost respect for the defender.
"Tony Adams and Jamie Carragher weren't the most talented players." Ferguson said.
"They weren't going to carve out defenders, weren't the quickest. But the desire and determination, they were always going to be winners, always influenced their teams."
Despite being either side of English football's most bitter rivalry, Ferguson is full of admiration for Carragher, who played 737 times for the Reds during his one-club career.
The former United boss believes the former Liverpool captain is destined for a career in management.
"I think he's got a career. He's also in television but he'd make a good manager. He's got the material," Ferguson added.
Adams was another player Ferguson admired greatly. He tried to sign the former Gunners skipper when he was coming through the ranks at the north London club, but found the pursuit a thankless task.
Southampton 2 Manchester United 3 player ratings
Southampton 2 Manchester United 3 player ratings
1/21 Southampton: Stekelenburg: 5/10
The Dutchman was not helped by his defenders, but did not have the look of a composed man. Not a worthy replacement for Fraser Forster.
2/21 Yoshida 4
Right back is not his favoured position and it showed. Produced a criminal back pass to gift Martial the opportunity to score his second goal.
3/21 Fonte 6
A leading light in Southampton's back line. The only remaining member of last season's tight knit rearguard, he is a level above the rest.
4/21 Van Dijk 5
The defender is quickly discovering that the Premier League is not comparable to the north of the border. Struggled and lucky not to be dismissed for a petulant foul on Martial.
5/21 Targett 5
Substituted at half time after struggling to contain United's forages forward on the right flank.
6/21 Wanyama 6
The enforcer was not at his best but still helped to smother plenty of United attacks. However, couldn't link to the front men as well as he would have liked.
7/21 Romeu 5
Struggled to get a foothold in the game. The Spaniard must improve if he is to fulfil his potential at St. Mary's.
8/21 Mane 6
A constant menace. Few defenders seem to have figured out how to stop him and he produced a superb assist for Pelle's second.
9/21 Ward-Prowse 6
The English youngsters boasts superb delivery from wide areas and did not disappoint. Needs to do more to cope with the physicality of the division.
10/21 Tadic 6
Encouraging early on, but the midfielder's display fizzled out somewhat. His crosses did not dip in quality but he did not have the impact that his start suggested he would.
11/21 Pelle 7
A simple tap in for the first goal, which he took well, and nodded home superbly for his second. Would have had a hat trick but for the width of the post.
12/21 Manchester United: De Gea 7/10
The safest pair of hands in the division. Exposed by his poor defence on countless occasions but still made several smart stops.
13/21 Darmian 5
Withdrawn at half time due to injury. If the Italian's absence is an extended one he will be sorely missed given the impressive start to his career in England.
14/21 Smalling 5
All at sea early on in a throw back to the dark days. Struggled to cope with Pelle's power and the fluid nature of the remainder of Southampton's attack. A dip after what has been a stellar start to the campaign.
15/21 Blind 5
Although the Dutchman is composed on the ball his lack of pace is strikingly obvious. His ability can get him our of trouble at times but his snail-like speed can be his downfall at centre back.
16/21 Carrick 5
The Englishman's strengths do not seem to sit well with Schneiderlin's. Sat deep but looked off the pace. He is far from an enforcer and his composed - but safe - patterns of passing did little to affect the game.
17/21 Schneiderlin 6
Appeared to be somewhat affected by the return to familiar surroundings. Received a bit of jib from the home crowd but still managed to pass the ball impeccably.
18/21 Mata 6
Debate continues in regards to the Spaniard's best position, though the right flank is not alien to him.
19/21 Rooney 6
Distinctly average. The skipper was deployed at number 10 and covered plenty of ground but did not provide the cutting edge in the final third that he is constantly expected to command.
20/21 Depay 6
It just isn't happening for the Dutchman. He is desperate to make something happen but his powerful runs and ability on the ball are yet to yield a final product. Struck the post in the build up to Mata's goal.
21/21 Martial 8
The teenager has answered his critics emphatically. A well-taken brace courtesy of two composed finishes had the appearance of a man with far more experience than the 19-year-old. His instant impact goes from strength to strength.
"I think Tony Adams was a United player in an Arsenal shirt to be honest with you," Ferguson said.
"I thought he'd be absolutely perfect for United. I tried a little bit when he was 19, in the reserves, but no chance.
"Those two (Adams and Carragher) are examples of how far you can go in the game when you have the inner determination and desire to be successful and you see the careers they had, marvellous."
On Zola, the former Chelsea forward whose trickery mesmerized Premier League defenders for seven years at the turn of the century, Ferguson said: "He annoyed me. He was one of those players who was unperturbed about who he was playing against.
"You always see a smile on his face, and that annoyed me.
"I said 'how can he be enjoying himself playing against United?'. Nobody else does.
"But he was a fantastic player. I love watching him. He was an enjoyable player. For me to say that about an opponent tells how much I admire him."Reuse content