Sir Alex Ferguson reveals his admiration for Jamie Carragher: 'He was always going to be a winner, and he will make a great manager'

Fergie also praised Tony Adams and Gianfranco Zola

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The Independent Online

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.

 

"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."

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