Former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs believes the fighting spirit of his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson will stand him in good stead as he bids to recover from a brain haemorrhage.
Giggs has joined the long list of well wishers eager for Ferguson to recover after collapsing at home over the weekend and being rushed to hospital. The 76-year-old remains in intensive care after undergoing emergency surgery.
The news sent shockwaves throughout football and beyond and Giggs, who was given his professional debut as a 17-year-old in 1991 by Ferguson, is hopeful the Scot can pull through.
“Now is the time to pray and hope he can make a full recovery,” said Wales manager Giggs, who was an integral part of all 13 of Fergusons Premier League titles. “He has been the biggest influence in my career, both on and off the pitch.
“I know the operation has been a success, but he is a fighter and that is what makes me think that he will be able to make a recovery.”
Giggss sentiments followed tributes from around the world and were echoed by his ex-team-mate and England centre-half Phil Jones, who was signed by Ferguson from Blackburn Rovers in 2011.
“Hes taken me under his wing like a father and it was shocking,” said Jones. “Its sad, but I know his character and I know he has that fight in him. He is such a legend in my eyes.
“He is the one who brought me to the club and gave me that opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world. When something like this happens its nice that the football world comes together and shows support. We are all rooting for him.”
Manchester Citys Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger of Arsenal became the latest Premier League bosses to pay tribute to Ferguson, the most successful manager in the history of the British game, on Sunday.
Guardiola labelled Ferguson an “outstanding manager and person”, while Wenger, who was alongside his one-time rival on the Old Trafford touchline just days before he fell ill, described him as a “strong and optimistic man”.