Schmeichel felt Ferguson retired too early and is excited for his United return

Peter Schmeichel always felt Sir Alex Ferguson retired too soon so cannot wait to see the Manchester United great back where he belongs, managing at Old Trafford in May’s Treble Reunion against Bayern Munich.

Exactly 20 years to the day since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last-gasp winner sealed the Champions League at the Nou Camp, so many of that great side will come together in what is sure to be a memorable occasion on May 26.

Schmeichel and United’s defence have now been confirmed for an anniversary match that will see Ferguson take his place in the dugout as manager of the United ’99 Legends.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Peter Schmeichel lift the Champions League trophy
Sir Alex Ferguson and Peter Schmeichel lift the Champions League trophy (Phil Noble/PA)

The 77-year-old won 38 trophies in 26 years at the Old Trafford helm before retiring in 2013, with his return to the touchline sure to be a memorable occasion.

“That’s going to be a very special moment to have him back in the dugout,” Schmeichel told Football Paradise

“I always felt, you know, he wasn’t old enough to retire.

“I don’t know (if) it’s more nostalgia or it’s an emotional thing because he belongs there, but when you do the same job with that kind of pressure for so many years, he was in his right, so entitled, to do whatever he wanted to do.

“But I felt it was a really sad moment when he retired because it was such a big part of Manchester United’s history that left.

“I am very happy that he’s coming back and it’s interesting to see the reactions to the announcement. Everyone just sees this as a massive occasion and it’s going to be brilliant.”

Jaap Stam, Gary Neville and Denis Irwin have now been confirmed as part of United’s defence for the match, so too Ronny Johnsen, Phil Neville, Wes Brown and David May.

Raimond van der Gouw returns as Schmeichel’s number two and caretaker manager Solskjaer is surely going to be confirmed sooner or later.

“For me personally it has been a long, long time since I’ve played a game of football,” Schmeichel said.

“A long career is having its toll on my body, so there’s a lot of wear and tear.

“But I’ll come on the pitch, see what I can do and if it’s not happening I’ll have to come off again, but we’ve got Raimond – probably the fittest 55-year-old man in the world.

“We’ve got a lot of good players turning up. We’re announcing the defence, which is basically everybody who took part in that season, so I am looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good day.”

The Treble Reunion match is not only a chance to pay homage to the heroes of 1999 but will raise key funds for the Manchester United Foundation.

“I really love doing work for the Foundation,” Schmeichel said on a visit to Elm Wood Primary School in Middleton. “I think it’s so important.

“I think we kind of forget at the top end of football what really sort of makes us, what creates where we are and the very fortunate position we, as a club like Manchester United, are in.

“It’s all built on the support of people around us and I think we as a football club have a social responsibility to work it the other way as well.”

:: Tickets for the Treble Reunion game are on sale now from £19.99 for adults and just £10 for under 16s. Hospitality packages are available from £99. For more information please visit: www.manutd.com/treblereunion

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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