Belfast Telegraph

How Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are just like Sir Alex Ferguson, explains Rio Ferdinand


Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
Top of world: Pep Guardiola with his Manchester City players after title win
New venture: Rio Ferdinand, pictured with Shane Smith (left) and Lee Mudd, as he officially opened the office of New Era Global Sports Management in Belfast
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are just as good as Sir Alex Ferguson was at Old Trafford.

The pair have just completed one of the most thrilling title races in recent memory, with Guardiola's Manchester City pipping Klopp's Liverpool to the title by just a point after blowing away the rest of the competition.

Both managers are seen as inspirational figures who have got the best out of their squads, with City winning the domestic treble this season, while Liverpool still have the Champions League final to play.

Ex-United favourite Ferdinand believes that both managers are on a par with the legendary Sir Alex when it comes to being able to maximise the potential of those around them.

"I can only talk from experience, but Sir Alex Ferguson had a fear factor, especially early in his career, and it ran through every squad that he had," explained Ferdinand, who was launching the first Belfast-based office of New Era Sports Management.

"You wanted to please him, to run through brick walls for him, you didn't want to disappoint him, and if you thought you did something wrong then you'd know he'd be coming and there'd be something said.

"You can't tell me that Klopp's not like that, and you can't tell me that Pep Guardiola's not like that because you can see it, you can see the players are sitting there thinking, 'I need to do everything I can for him because he won't let me slack'.

"There are other managers who may be saying with players nowadays you can't do that, but you've got to make them, like they do. I still think there are players out there who want to be the best and need to be guided."

Belfast-born Former professional player Lee Mudd will run New Era's new Belfast office, which will focus on assisting footballers across Ireland in making the switch to the mainland to progress their careers.

After the recent successes of the likes of Stuart Dallas, Gavin Whyte and Mark Sykes making the move across the water, it is believed that there are plenty of others in the Irish League who could make the step up as well.

At the opening, Ferdinand insisted he is confident that New Era can aid the next local star make the jump to the professional game in England.

New venture: Rio Ferdinand, pictured with Shane Smith (left) and Lee Mudd, as he officially opened the office of New Era Global Sports Management in Belfast

"Today is about growth, and there's a talent pool here in Ireland that's been well documented over the years," he said.

"It doesn't matter where you come from, they're top players, it's just being able to help nurture and create those pathways for those players to come over and get those opportunities.

"If we can give Lee that support by opening an office here, helping him by giving him the resources we have as a company in London, then it's an important moment for the people involved."

However, the 81-times capped England international has warned that those who do decide to take the plunge into professional football have to be ready to put in the hard work.

"Far too many kids come over thinking it'll be a bed of roses and that's not reality - you're going to get knocked back, you're going to get told you're not good enough, you're going to get an injury, something's going to happen to your family or friends - you need to be made aware that this is going to happen, it's inevitable," added Ferdinand.

Belfast Telegraph


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