Remember the first thing Sir Alex Ferguson said to you in the summer of 2006 when United became interested in you? How did he envision your role in the team?
“We didn’t really talk about it, to be honest. He didn’t have to sell the club in any way, he didn’t have to sell it to me in terms of my venue or my style of play or anything.” As soon as I knew they were interested, it was child’s play: I came anyway. But when I first met him and went to his office for the first time and had this face-to-face conversation, it was quite annoying-wracking. It was more of an introduction. He just said, “You’re going to enjoy it here. You’re going to love playing for this club. It’s a great club and you play with great players. Hopefully you work hard and you have to live up to the standards we set ourselves have set over the years. ”
How much do you remember your first day of training with your teammates?
“It was disheartening! I was 25 at the time, pretty well established – I had played for England – but going into the United dressing room was daunting. There were great characters and world class players. It’s really twofold. You have to fit in the locker room, find your place in it and build relationships – but then you also have to win the trust of the guys on the pitch, through training and playing the squad. And doing that with the players I joined the roster with was daunting. But at the same time it was a big challenge and something I was really looking forward to. ”
The league season in 2006/07 was incredibly close. How did United manage to find an extra gear when it came from behind to overtake Chelsea?
“I think it was a little bit of everything. There was a lot of mutual trust and individual trust, and the spirit in the group was amazing. The belief and trust in one another was there and obviously a lot of quality too. Someone was performing when we We always had players who we thought would give us chances and score goals, which was a huge deal, so we always felt up in a game whether we were 1-0 or 2-0 we’d get chances towards the end of the game. ”
You mentioned that in the first few months you dealt with the training intensity and trust of your teammates. Was there a game or a moment in which you thought: This is where I belong?
“Not really, no, I think it was just the time. The highlight of this first season for me was probably the game against Roma – won 7-1 at home. But there was a gradual build-up and an improvement over the years Time and “I felt more and more comfortable. I couldn’t really tell that there was a special moment. I was just so happy to play here with a team as good as we are. Tottenham, where I came from, had a good team but it was such a big leap to play with the team that Thad joined. I was more in awe of being on the team and just enjoying the experience. “