Alex Ferguson has revealed his admiration for retiring Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, labelling the 35-year-old a “fantastic player”.
Carragher, who has made 736 appearances for the club, announced his plans to retire at the end of current campaign while still at the top of his game.
He found first-team opportunities hard to come by at the start season, but he has been an ever-present under Brendan Rodgers since January.
“He’s absolutely a player I admire,” Ferguson told Liverpool’s official club website. “He’s the epitome of a loyal, dedicated player who Liverpool have been lucky to have for more than a decade.
“He’s been a bedrock of their defensive qualities for years and years.
“I loved him. He’s a fantastic example for any young lad that wants to play the game. He’s been a really, really good professional.”
Carragher joined Liverpool in 1990 as a 12-year-old and has gone on to make the second-highest number of appearances in the club’s history. He made his first-team debut 1997 and formed a solid defensive partnership with Sami Hyypia under Rafael Benitez.
During his many appearances against United he has had highs and lows, scoring two own goals during a match in 1999 but also being part of the side that won 4-1 at Old Trafford in 2009.
He may not have always stood out in games but Ferguson believes that his hard work and commitment were two of his best characteristics.
“He’s absolutely the type of player a manager wants,” he added. “I used to rave about Brucie (Steve Bruce) and the nine years he had with us, and I think Jamie Carragher is that exact same mould – can play with injuries, gets knocked about and gets back up, hardly misses a game.
“You’re lucky to have players like that. I was lucky to have Steve Bruce and he is the same type of player. A fantastic player.”