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Quinton Fortune names three youngsters who can make an impact under Ten Hag and says Rooney can go far as a manager

| 05.05.2022

In the third part of our exclusive interview with Quinton Fortune, the former Manchester United player discusses Wayne Rooney’s time in charge of Derby, which player set the standard in training and the three youngsters that could make an impact under Erik ten Hag next season.

You can read parts one and two by clicking on the links.

Erik ten Hag has two other youngsters – as well as Anthony Elanga – who can play a key role next season

I’m expecting Anthony Elanga to kick on next season. He’s got unbelievable pace and there aren’t many in the league who can keep up with him when he gets going. He showed that against Brentford earlier this week and that’s something I’d like to see more of looking ahead to next season.

He’s a great kid and so humble, and for a coach I’d say he’s a perfect student. He’s the perfect player to work with because he always wants to do more, he always wants to learn and always wants to improve. He’s like a sponge. He’ll take in all of the information you give him, and he deserves his opportunity in the first team because he did so well in the under-23s and under-18s.

Erik ten Hag, Ajax

I just think he’s going to get better and better because he’s got that mindset. He just wants to learn, and who better to learn from than the greatest ever: Cristiano Ronaldo?

But it’s not just him, you know, when you look at some of the other youngsters Manchester United have. They’ve got a lad at Nottingham Forest, Jimmy Garner who has had a great season in the Championship where he’s picked up a lot of experience playing at a high level.

They’ve got the young Hannibal Mejbri who came on against Liverpool late on, another extremely talented player. Those are two other names who can play a part in Man United’s first team next season – but of course, you still need to sign top, top players if you want to win trophies and qualify for the Champions League.

Wayne Rooney’s managerial ceiling is as high as he wants it to be

I’d be lying if I said I saw Wayne Rooney stepping into management. You never think too far ahead in your career when you’re a player, and you have to remember Wayne was still so young when I played with him. But to see him transform into the person he is now – he’s so calm on the touchline.

I see him sometimes and I’m just like ‘who is that guy? Did someone take over his body?’ because I know what he was like as a player, very aggressive, determined and wanted to win. You could see that anger in his face. But as a manager he’s so calm – and that’s so important because that energy goes through to your players.

Wayne Rooney, Quinton Fortune, Manchester United

Credit to him, because he’s done an amazing job at Derby. His career in management is limitless; whatever he wants to achieve, I’ve no doubt he’ll go and do it. Look at what he’s achieved as a player, I can’t see any reason why he won’t do the same as a manager.

One of the most talented players I’ve ever seen in my life is Ravel Morrison. If Wayne can get Ravel playing, then that really is special, because we tried it at Manchester United and it didn’t work out. But Wayne has got him playing again at Derby and he’s done a great job. The ceiling is as high as Wayne wants it to be; wherever he goes next, I’m sure he’ll be a success.

‘Unspoken training rule’ was key to Man United’s success and dominance

I’ve played with some phenomenal players over the years and in my time with Manchester United, but as far as the most influential name goes, it’s probably got to be Roy Keane. He set the standards every single day in training. He had so much influence in the team, and if you dropped your standards, you would hear from him. He wasn’t just keeping an eye on whose standards were dropping, though, he was setting them himself.

He could talk the talk and walk the walk – he was just relentless every day. But the group of players as a whole, you know, from Gary Neville to David Beckham… I wish people could see how much this guy trained; he was unbelievable. Scholesy, Nicky Butt… that group, every day in training was mind-blowing. The professionalism inside that club was there from the moment you walked in on your first day. You picked it up naturally, because you saw how your team-mates were operating.

Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Manchester United training

It was just an unspoken rule, you just picked it up from day one. You needed to be on your toes every day in training, because if you weren’t someone else would take your place. It was as simple as that. If training started at 10:15am, you’d be thinking ‘OK, I need to be in at 9, maybe even 8am’. You’d get in early, have your breakfast, do your stretches, be out on the pitch at 10am, ready for training. You saw Gary and Phil Neville doing it, Cristiano [Ronaldo], Roy Keane, all these guys were doing it, so new players would just pick it up naturally.

We would treat every training session like it was our last, and that became a habit for everyone at the club. You came in and just thought ‘is this normal?’ but match day would come around and it would be easy, because you’re not playing against Scholesy, [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer], these guys are all on your team.

They all led in their own ways; Scholesy led without being vocal, with more of a focus on the way he played. Keano, [Dwight] Yorke and [Andy] Cole played with their hearts on their sleeve, full of that passion.

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Alex Apati

Alex has been with the Ladbrokes PR team since 2017 having previously worked for the news department. From sparring with Peter Fury to talking interviews on the Duke and Duchess' baby names, he's covered a range of sports and novelty events.

A frustrated West Brom fan who is no stranger to an oche, Alex is originally from Dudley, although he's worked hard to rid himself of the Black Country twang.