Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson tipped Steve McManaman for a leading England role in Euro 2000 and hailed the former Liverpool star as man-of-the-match after Real Madrid?s Champions League triumph.
McManaman crowned a fine personal performance with a quality finish for Real?s second goal in the Madrid club?s emphatic 3-0 victory over Valencia at Stade de France.
?I thought McManaman was excellent,? said Ferguson, whose team were on the receiving end in their quarter-final defeat to Vicente del Bosque?s team. ?There is no question he was man of the match.
?He was a threat all night and gave Real great penetration from midfield. The boy has always been blessed with marvellous stamina and he has the confidence to go past players. He has given Kevin (Keegan) something to think about.?
Terry Venables, who coaxed the often inconsistent McManaman into his best international form during Euro 96, said: ?Steve had a marvellous game. He?s got a great engine, he showed some lovely touches and kept working all night.?
Ferguson couldn?t help himself from having a bit of a dig at Real, suggesting United ?ought to have been playing in this one?. The Scot was clearl;y surprised by Valencia?s open approach to the game.
?All Real?s key players, Redondo, Raul and McManaman were given the freedom to play,? said Ferguson. ?They were allowed to control the match and that was surprising.?