Ferguson blasts fragile footballers
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Sir Alex Ferguson, who has handled the likes of Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Paul Ince and Roy Keane in his 23 years at Old Trafford, has stated today's "fragile" footballers are what make his life most difficult.

The Manchester United supremo had also famous run-ins with Andrei Kanchelskis and Jaap Stam, which saw both swiftly run out of club, but he claims today's pampered superstars is much harder.

"It's a different player character we've got today. The players are more fragile than players of 25 years ago. They are more cocooned today by their agents or the press they receive at times," said Ferguson.

"They are less likely to hold their hands up and say they're at fault for things. If you go back 30 years ago you had a player who had a certain pride and responsibility in their own performance.

"They were less protected so they could come in and say 'it was my fault' And that was good. But today they are very protected. They are more fragile than ever."

"We had a young boy get in the England Under-21s. His agent phoned up the next day and said, 'I think it's time we sat down for a new contract for the boy,'" continued Ferguson.

"In his mind he thought that demanded a new contract. I said, 'Let's see how he plays for Manchester United.' But that's the way the world is now. When you think they (agents) are conducting most transfers now, it's not right."

Ferguson was speaking at an inaugural dinner of the League Managers' Association Hall of Fame 1000 Club, celebrating the 18 men to have managed more than 1,000 domestic league or cup matches, including Sir Matt Busby, Brian Clough, Alec Stock and Sir Bobby Robson.

Of the 14 surviving members 10 were present at the Hilton hotel in London and as well as Ferguson there were Dave Bassett, Steve Coppell, Brian Horton, Lennie Lawrence, Harry Redknapp, Denis Smith, Jim Smith, Graham Turner and Neil Warnock. The four missing were Alan Buckley, Dario Gradi, Joe Royle and Graham Taylor.

For success and longevity no-one, however, comes close to Ferguson whose managerial record at East Stirling, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland and Manchester United stands at 1,928 games, of which he has won 1,104, drawn 468 and lost 356, a win percentage of 57.26 per cent.