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Newcastle boss Bentiez wishes Ferguson a speedy recovery

The former Manchester United manager is recovering from an operation on a brain haemorrhage.

Former rival manager Rafael Benitez has stressed the need for the football family to continue to come together and offer all the support possible to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The 76-year-old former Manchester United boss continues his recovery in intensive care in a Salford hospital after an emergency operation on a brain haemorrhage on Saturday.

Support has flooded in for the Scot from both football figures and those outside the game.

Benitez was involved in a well-publicised “facts” rant against the former United boss during 2009 when he was at Liverpool as the two clubs battled it out at the top of the Premier League.

However, the Spaniard, now in charge at Newcastle, took a moment before the press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League match with Tottenham to express a personal message of support for his one-time fierce rival coach.

“Before I start, I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Sir Alex Ferguson,” Benitez said on Tuesday.

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Rafael Benitez (left) went head to head with Sir Alex Ferguson during his time in charge of Liverpool. (Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

“At these times, it’s really important to have all the support that he can get.

“It’s something you cannot control. It’s just to wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”

BBC commentator John Motson, meanwhile, hailed Ferguson’s “unique character”.

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Motson, who will deliver his final Match of the Day commentary this weekend, told Press Association Sport: “I’ve been following the bulletins day by day and like everyone else I wish him all the best.

“He is a unique character. For all his great achievements as a football manager – and they are far in excess of anybody else’s – he was a very forward-thinking human being.

“I don’t know how he found the time, but outside of football he is knowledgeable about horse racing, about wine, literature – an amazing man in every respect.

“I liked his comment at a dinner I was at in Burnley once – ‘determination separates people’. He proved that with his own drive and determination and I hope we see him well again soon.”

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Manchester United midfielder Ashley Young has revealed how he was left “lost for words” when news of his former manager’s illness emerged.

Young, signed by Ferguson from Aston Villa in 2011, said in an interview with talkSPORT: “I was deeply affected, sad and, to be honest, I was lost for words.

“When you hear of such a person and what has happened to him, you can only hope and pray that everything is going to be okay.

“And that is (across) the whole of the football community – people at Liverpool were saying nice things, people at (Manchester) City were saying nice things

“Everyone at the club is wishing him all the best and his family as well.”

“He is a great man. I have the utmost respect for him as all the players you speak to that he has signed will have.

“Sir Alex is a fantastic person on and off the field. He has been brilliant with me. To bring me to one of the biggest clubs in the world was an amazing feeling for me.”

Young, 32, added: “He is a fighter and hopefully in the next coming days it will be positive news for his family and from himself. He is a born winner and a born fighter.

“Sir Alex, all the best, I hope you get well. You are a fighter and a winner and we want you out of the hospital and back with us.”

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