Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United old boys still look to Sir Alex Ferguson for lift

Evergreen Sir Alex Ferguson is an inspiration to Manchester United's old guard as they seek to help guide Old Trafford's next generation to Barclays Premier League glory, according to Edwin van der Sar.

The 68-year-old Scot saw his side secure a 3-1 victory over double winners Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley thanks in no small part to a vintage display from Paul Scholes, 35, while Van der Sar — who turns 40 in October — also made some crucial saves.

New boy Javier Hernandez, 22, made an impression after coming off the bench for the second half, scoring a somewhat fortunate goal after being set up by winger Antonio Valencia, who had earlier opened the scoring.

Dutchman Van der Sar revealed senior figures such as himself and 36-year-old Ryan Giggs cannot help but be uplifted by the example of the Red Devils manager, who first took charge at the club back in 1986.

“Before we left for the Chelsea game, the manager gave a little team talk, and said ‘I am glad to be able to still be doing this, to work with young guys which keeps me motivated', and it is the same for the players — we all feel it is a nice place to be at United,” Van der Sar said.

After what was a difficult campaign last time out following both injury and a serious illness for his wife, Van der Sar cannot wait for the new season to kick off when Newcastle come to Old Trafford next Monday night.

“Last season was hard. I had two injuries and then there was my wife's illness,” he said. “Now she is feeling good again and enjoying life at the moment.

“I played two games on the pre-season tour and felt I needed some more work, which I got against Chelsea, so I am pleased with that.

“We only have a week to go before the real thing starts, so it is important some players, like Wayne Rooney, get more playing time under their belts. That was important, in addition to winning the trophy.”

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