Henrik Larsson On Manchester United And Playing Under Sir Alex Ferguson

Henrik Larsson On Manchester United And Playing Under Sir Alex Ferguson
Henrik Larsson On Manchester United And Playing Under Sir Alex Ferguson

You joined Manchester United on loan in 2007 from Helsingborg. How do you reflect on your time at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson? 

“It was fantastic because I was 35 at the time and had just played half a year in the Swedish league after returning from Barcelona.

“I did not really have any rest because I came home from the Champions League final, then I think I had two weeks holiday, then I played my first game back at Helsingborg.

“Obviously, being a little bit older, it took longer for me to recuperate after a game.

“So, to get that chance [to join Manchester United], tickled me a little bit when I got the question.

“I had to do it because Sir Alex, for me, is one of the best ever managers we’ve seen in the game and I wanted to have the chance to work with him and the players that were there.

“The likes of Giggs, Scholes, Ferdinand, Vidic, Patrice Evra, Neville, Carrick, Fletcher, Rooney and Ronaldo.

“It was just exactly what I needed at that time. Because otherwise I had to do the Swedish pre-season, which is three months long so I thought it was better when they wanted me at that gap in the Swedish season.

“I said, yes, I’m going as long as the clubs can find a solution and the answer was to loan me out from January until March and then for me to return back home when the Swedish league started.

“Looking back, that is the only regret I have in my career. I should have stayed at Manchester United for the remainder of that season because I probably would have got an extra year with Manchester United in the next season.

“But, if that’s the only regret I have in my career, well, then it has to be like that but I really enjoyed my time at the club.

“They took great care of me. The club and the players were fantastic towards me and my family, it’s one of the most professional clubs I have ever been at.“

Your first goal for Manchester United was against Aston Villa, managed, of course, by your former manager at Celtic, Martin O’Neill. What did he say to you after that game?

“I actually can’t remember what Martin said to me after the game.

“But, scoring my goal for Manchester United was so important for me and I think for Sir Alex as well, because he brought in a semi-retired 35-year-old to play in the Premier League and in the FA Cup.

“So, it was important for both of us that I started well and being able to do that was just fantastic.

“It was a great feeling because that meant that I was up and running and the players could see that I could hack it, which they’ve already seen in training, I think. It was a very happy moment.”

“Cristiano in that team was as close to the finished article as you could get which is what we saw in Madrid and at Juventus.

“I have to also talk about Wayne Rooney. He was a clever player and easy to play with. He had great movement, great vision, and he could score for fun. He was an excellent finisher.”

“They tried earlier and I think there was some enquiry about that.

“But I do not regret that I didn’t go to them then and I don’t regret it now because was happy at Celtic.

“We played in European competitions, I played with the Swedish national team in the World Cups, in the European Championship as well so, I don’t regret that I didn’t leave earlier.

“I had a fantastic time and I built my career at Celtic. And I think if you ask anybody, I think they remember me more from Celtic than anywhere else.“