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Saturday 22 September 2018

'Now is the time to pray', says Giggs as Jones hails 'father figure' Ferguson

Alex Ferguson with Ryan Giggs. Photo: Getty
Alex Ferguson with Ryan Giggs. Photo: Getty
Fergie and Phil Jones with the Premier League trophy
Alex Ferguson with Michael Carrick. Photo: PA

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has backed Alex Ferguson's fighting spirit to pull him through after his brain haemorrhage.

The Wales manager said he is praying for Ferguson (76) - who he calls the biggest influence in his life - to make a full recovery.

"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," said Giggs.

"Now is the time to pray and hope."

Messages of support flooded in from the football world after the shock news on Saturday that Ferguson had been rushed to hospital.

Support

There were no updates over the weekend or yesterday on his condition.

However, Manchester United, the club he managed for 26 years, have said the surgery went "extremely well" and the Scot is recovering in intensive care.

The club added in an online statement: "Manchester United would like to thank the wider football world for the messages of support following the news that Alex Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening."

United and England defender Phil Jones yesterday described his former boss as a "father figure" and backed him to return to full health.

Jones was signed for United from Blackburn by Ferguson in 2011 and was part of the Scot's 13th Premier League title, in his final season before he retired in 2013.

The footballer described himself as "just devastated, absolutely devastated".

"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," Jones added.

"He's taken me under his wing like a father. It was shocking, it's sad, but I know his character. I know he has that fight in him. Hopefully, he'll recover well. When something like that does happen it's nice that the football world comes together and shows support and we are all rooting for him."

Manchester United captain Michael Carrick last night also paid a heartfelt tribute to his former Ferguson.

Carrick played under the Scot for seven years and told MUTV he was "devastated" to learn about his condition and is hoping he will make a speedy recovery.

"I was devastated," Carrick said. "I got a text on Saturday evening and I couldn't quite believe it. It didn't really sink in. I was just devastated.

"It's one of them where you start hearing different things which is quite dangerous and quite disturbing. I just stayed calm and spoke to a few people at the club to get a bit of a rundown on how he was doing.

"The whole world showed their support and I was just concerned about him, as an ex-manager and a friend - as he was to everyone. It was the effect he had on everyone. He means a lot to me, as he does to this club."

During his 26 years at Old Trafford, Ferguson - who also led Aberdeen to a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph - took the club to the pinnacle of the English and European game.

With his uncompromising "hairdryer treatment" style of management, he led United to 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.

He won the treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and the Champions League in 1999.

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