Sir Alex Ferguson used to "slap hard-back folder" on Man Utd players’ heads

Former Manchester United midfielder Chris Eagles has revealed the lengths Sir Alex Ferguson went to when trying to earn the respect of players at the club.

Eagles joined United's academy at the age of 14 before making his first-team debut at the age of 17 against Leeds United in 2003.

Being viewed as a dependable figure by Ferguson was key to being rewarded with opportunities in the senior squad, though the 35-year-old recalled one occasion whereby he feared he had overstepped the mark.

"I drove a car somewhere when I was 15 and Sir Alex found out about it and called me in his office. I was petrified. It's the worst experience ever because you don't know what he's going to do," said Eagles when speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Burnley v West Ham.

He continued: "I can remember standing outside of his office, sweating, going red. He used to have a folder where he used to keep his notes. It was a hard-back. Every time he walked past me he used to just slap me on the head with it – all in good humour obviously.

"He was just a great manager, a great guy, and that's how he got his respect."

Known for nurturing young talent during his time at the club, Ferguson reaped the rewards of placing faith in players such as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

Describing how the Scot would enable players to quickly settle in at United, Eagles added: "Sir Alex Ferguson had a lot of involvement with me as a kid because he knew I'd moved away from home. I wasn't too dissimilar to David Beckham in that respect; we'd both moved from London to Manchester as youngsters.

"Sir Alex had his certain players like me, Darren Fletcher and Kieran Richardson who he had soft spots for. If I was ever trouble he'd tell me off, though."

Eagles left United in 2008 to sign for Burnley and has since represented a number of clubs, including: Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic and Port Vale.

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