Updated: Wednesday, 18th September 2019 @ 2:33pm

Natural fit: Sir Alex Ferguson asked to deliver motivational speech to inspire European Ryder Cup team

Natural fit: Sir Alex Ferguson asked to deliver motivational speech to inspire European Ryder Cup team

| By Patric Ridge

Sir Alex Ferguson has been tasked with inspiring Team Europe to victory ahead of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this weekend.

The Manchester United legend, who retired in 2013 after 26 trophy-laden years at the helm at Old Trafford, will give the golfers a motivational speech on Tuesday evening.

Team Europe, which includes the likes of current world number one and United fan Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter – who was the catalyst for a dramatic European fight back in Chicago two years ago dubbed The Miracle of Medinah, will be hoping to retain their Ryder Cup crown for the third successive tournament.

 

 

 

And European captain Paul McGinley, who had suggested he would turn to a high-profile guest speaker to inspire his men, expressed his delight at securing the services of the man responsible for maintaining United as one of the world’s largest sports institutions.

“He’s a guy that I played with in the JP McManus Pro-Am about 15 years ago, and he’s a guy that I’ve seen now and again over that time, and when I became captain, for a number of reasons, I asked him,” the 47-year-old told reporters.

“Of course he was more than willing to help.”

Despite admiring Sir Alex and the Reds’ style of play, McGinley is a not a fan of the 20-time league champions, but instead a devout follower of United’s upcoming opponents – West Ham.

But the Irishman is confident that Ferguson could provide the X-factor to keep Europe on top against their American counterparts in Scotland this weekend.

“There’s a number of things that he’s dealing with that he was particularly good at that I think he’ll be a particularly strong fit.

“There’s a lot of similarities, and I’ve met him a number of times over the last few months.

“The more I’ve met him, the more there was just such a natural fit.”

But McGinley was also keen to note that the speech was as much about fun as inspiration.

He added: “This is not about him being a headmaster and coming in and preaching to them.

“This is about fun – the areas that I’ll be talking to the players about, him relating it to football and getting some football stories.”

 

 

 

For proof of the impact Ferguson has on his charges, look no further than one of the Scot’s former United stalwarts – Rio Ferdinand  - who has revealed how Sir Alex’s retirement effected the Reds’ squad, particularly free-scoring Dutch forward Robin van Persie.

“It took the wind out of everyone's sails," Ferdinand, now at Queens Park Rangers, told MUTV.

“It gave us an extra push to go and win be successful in that last season.

“Everyone was really appreciative for what he'd done for our career.

“The person it hit more than anyone was Robin [van Persie] because he’d come the year before, tasted that success and wanted more.

“Visually you could see it hit him harder than anyone else at the time.”

Main image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks.