Man Utd star frustrated Ferguson so much he wanted to ‘hit him with a stick’

Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most successful managers in footballing history, but even he struggled to get the very best out of Brazil international Anderson at Manchester United.

The midfielder arrived at Old Trafford from Porto in 2007 for a fee of approximately £20million, being dubbed by many as the ‘next big thing’ for United. Having won the Golden Boy award in 2005 – three years after winning the Golden Ball at the Under-17 World Championships, many expected the playmaker to be a long-term star at the Red Devils.

But injuries, fitness issues and a lack of desire held Anderson back. So much so that Ferguson wanted to hit the now-retired player with a stick as he was that frustrated with him.

Former United coach Nick Clegg spoke of the incident to The Athletic, he explained: “You could never find a nicer person [than Anderson] — he was popular with everyone — but he was a lazy bleeder. He always had his excuses.

"I used to have a stick and I said to Alex Ferguson very early on, ‘If he carries on, I’m going to hit him with my bleeding stick’.

“Fergie couldn’t believe it. ‘Don’t you dare. He cost me a lot of money. You can’t be hitting one of my players, are you mad?’. Then, six weeks later, Fergie came to find me. ‘Where’s that bloody stick?’, he said. ‘Give me that stick. I want to hit him’.”

Anderson spent eight years at United and quickly was labelled a ‘flop’ by many. However, most were simply just disappointed by how he only looked like reaching his potential on one or two occasions per season.

Clegg explained: “Anderson was more than capable of being an absolute stormer of a player. He just needed his head knocking.

“He didn’t keep fit. He chose not to put in the work, so it’s hard to have too much sympathy for him. He was a party animal.” Anderson retired in 2020 at Turkish side Adana Demirspor having made just 12 appearances for the club over the course of two seasons.

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