Ferguson urges players to learn from survivors
© AFP

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has urged his players to learn from the example of the Chilean miners visiting Old Trafford for Monday's clash against Arsenal.

Some 26 of the 33 rescued miners who were trapped underground for two months are set to be at Old Trafford as Manchester United's guests for their top of the table fixture against Arsenal following an invitation from former United player turned director and England great Sir Bobby Charlton.

"I think there are examples in life we should always take note of," Ferguson told Sky Sports when asked if there was anything his highly-paid stars could learn from the miners.

You are talking about people with real substance and how they've persevered and made sure they've survived, survivors is really what they are and I am looking forward to seeing them.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United

"I mean the life of a miner, having to work in the bowels of the earth, you can't see anything. It's a great sacrifice to earn a living," added Ferguson, who once worked in the Govan shipyards of his native Glasgow.

But Ferguson said he was keen to put the miners through their paces. "They are going to do a training session here and I am looking forward to it. You are talking about people with real substance and how they've persevered and made sure they've survived, survivors is really what they are and I am looking forward to seeing them."

"You took it in your stride and the whole world was very proud of you," Sir Bobby Charlton, whose father was a miner in Northumberland, north-east England, said to the Chilean miners on Monday.

"It's an honour to be at Old Trafford. It's the theatre of dreams and we have only seen it on television. We are very glad and excited to watch the match against Arsenal," said Omar Reygadas, a 56-year-old bulldozer operator.

He jokingly challenged Ferguson's men to a match, saying: "We have got enough footballers to make a team and maybe play Manchester United."

Charlton, now a Manchester United director, suggested the miners see a United match when he visited Chile following their dramatic rescue in October.