“We have great prospects at Old Trafford,” he said.
“Darren Fletcher, who will hopefully recover from his broken leg, is good.
“Michael Stewart and Luke Chadwick are doing really well, and John O’Shea is doing well too.
“There is a young left-back called Paul Tierney who is doing well, as is Danny Pugh. But there is a young boy who started out now, he’s 16, called Kieran Richardson.
“He’s going to be a fantastic player. ”
So what happened to these formidable prospects?
After a year in United’s academy, 2001/02, Richardson began making first-team appearances in the 2002/03 season.
His best campaign dates back to 2005/06, when he made 36 first appearances. The following year, his last at United, he made 24.
Five seasons at Sunderland followed, with two each at Fulham and Aston Villa.
His last campaign of the season was in Cardiff where he made just six appearances.
In his prime, Richardson won eight caps in England and scored twice.
Despite the fall of Ferguson’s name, the defender and midfielder have only made seven appearances for United’s first team.
In 2004 he joined rivals Leeds – who were in the Championship at this point – and spent two seasons there before moving to Preston North End.
Impressive at Deepdale, Pugh was nabbed by Stoke and was on their books for five seasons – even playing in the Premier League.
A return to Leeds in the league followed, as did spells to Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City, Bury, Blackpool and finally Port Vale.
Pugh is still at the Vale today after taking a coaching position.
One of the most successful names on this list. O’Shea certainly played his part at United.
The utility man spent 12 years at Old Trafford, having only been on loan twice initially.
The Irishman has made 393 appearances for United, scoring 15 goals – including a delicious chip against Arsenal.
O’Shea has won five Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League at United.
He also recorded 118 caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Seven seasons at Sunderland followed before retiring to Reading where he is now a first team coach.
Winner of the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2001/02, things did not go as planned for Paul Tierney.
Newcastle United (a) – Premier League, October 17
Paris Saint Germain (a) – Champions League, October 20
Chelsea (h) – Premier League, October 24
RB Leipzig (h) – Champions League, October 28
Arsenal (h) – Premier League, November 1
Istanbul Basaksehir (a), Champions League, November 4
Everton (a) – Premier League, November 7
After making zero Premier League appearances for United and three loan spells at Crewe, Colchester and Bradford City, Tierney came out in 2005.
Tierney has spent time in Livingston, Blackpool and Stockport, never really impressive.
His last fate came in Altrincham, but it lasted less than a month.
Stewart spent between 1997 and 2005 on the books for Manchester United, making eight league appearances.
The midfielder was loaned to Nottingham Forest and Hearts before making a permanent move to Hibernian.
Stewart was luckier in Scotland, making 54 league appearances at Easter Road before joining rival Hearts.
Three full seasons of 87 appearances followed as he left the club with my mutual consent in 2010.
A move to Turkey’s Genclerbirligi followed, but an injury struck Stewart in January, claiming the club had failed to honor their contract.
Stewart spent his final season at Charlton, making eight appearances.
He won four caps in Scotland.
After playing, Stewart has appeared as an expert a few times, but was suspended by BBC Scotland earlier this year following comments he made about the Rangers media manager.
Chadwick made 39 appearances in all competitions for United between 1999-2004 before moving to West Ham.
The midfielder was promising, playing 22 times in the 2000/01 season alone. He just couldn’t break it.
Spells at Stoke, Norwich, six seasons at MK Dons and two at Cambridge United followed.
He hung up his playing shoes in 2015 and stayed at Cambridge as a coach.
Recently, Chadwick opened up about the abuse he suffered as a player because of his appearance.
“They abused me just because of my appearance,” he said. ” It was hard. It made me feel really depressed. “
Rivals O’Shea as the most esteemed name on this list. An impressive 342 appearances between 2002 and 2015, Fletcher won five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Champions League.
Sadly, ulcerative colitis disrupted his later years at Old Trafford.
The Scot spent two and a half seasons at West Brom and two more at Stoke before hanging up his boots.
He also made 80 appearances for Scotland.
Fletcher is now often regarded as an expert alongside Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.