Anderson Fears Manchester United Downfall When Sir Alex Retires

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2012

CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 02:  Anderson of Manchester United in action during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between CFR 1907 Cluj and Manchester United at the Constantin Radulescu Stadium on October 2, 2012 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Can you imagine a Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson?

Anderson has considered exactly that.

The Brazilian midfielder has had a topsy-turvy career at Old Trafford.

Plenty of medals have arrived.

Anderson has won three Premier League titles, the League Cup, Community Shield, FIFA Club World Cup and Champions League with United.

He has also suffered consistent injury problems. The former Porto player hasn't maintained fitness since arriving for over £20 million in 2007.

A string of setbacks left him unhealthy, overweight and forgotten.

Anderson continues to fight for his place in the starting 11.

He recently scored a stunning opener in the 2-1 Capital One Cup win over Newcastle. While he was dropped for the 3-2 loss against Tottenham, he returned to the side in the Champions League victory over Cluj.

The 24-year-old indicates Sir Alex's guidance helped him over major career lulls. As reported by ESPN, he spoke to Grande Área television in Portugal:

Manchester United is Alex Ferguson.

When he leaves, the club will lose 30-40 percent—so much depends on him.

He is a father to all the players, a very respected person and when he retires the football world will really feel his loss.

He always helped me, and I have a great affection for him. He lives for training and always wants to know how his players and their families are.

The significance of such comments may seem minimal upon first inspection.

Many colleagues and rivals have praised Sir Alex over the years. Jose Mourinho recently suggested the 70-year-old Scotsman is "the boss" of all coaches (via Manchester Evening News).

I feel Anderson's tribute is greater than the average compliment.

The Brazilian's troubles have been well-documented and his Old Trafford tenure is often written off as a failure.

At this stage it would be easy for the player to accept he will never become a club legend. He could carve a move away. Pastures new would await with an easier challenge and less pressure.

Instead, Anderson's comments underline an individual who is willing to fight for his manager.

Sir Alex has stood by the player through thick and thin (quite literally). Anderson's willingness to speak about his admiration for the United boss is a healthy sign for the season ahead.

Manchester United face a tough task this year.

Regaining the Premier League crown remains the club's top priority. Sir Alex's men must also perform well in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions.

It is difficult to outline exactly what role Anderson will play.

His comments suggest United are ready to work for a manager that doesn't have many coaching years left in him.

Such support is key to Sir Alex's success.

Anderson hasn't massively influenced proceedings on the pitch for some time. His fight for consistent fitness is entering its final stages.

If he transforms his passionate comments into performances, United's midfield is set to gain 30 to 40 percent this season.


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