Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Man Utd's "most relaxed man in the world" among stars who surprised in training

Former Manchester United star Wes Brown claims World Cup winner Laurent Blanc is among those who most surprised him in training.

The French defender, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2001, shortly after Jaap Stam's departure, was midway into his 30s when he signed but still managed to make a big impression. Brown has labelled Blanc as "the most relaxed man in the world" with the centre-half going on to make over 70 appearances for the Red Devils.

"Laurent Blanc was probably 37 or 38 when he came to us - the most relaxed man in the world - he's definitely one," Brown, an 888 Sport ambassador, said when quizzed on which players surprised him.

Blanc has previously earned praise from other members of the United squad with Roy Keane claiming he set the tone at training despite only having months left on his contract. The defender saw his attitude hailed by the famous skipper, who said he was first in and last out.

Brown has also cited Celtic legend Henrik Larsson as a man who made his mark in Manchester. The Swede, who had enjoyed a stellar career in Glasgow and Barcelona, moved to United on loan in January 2007 - scoring on his debut against Aston Villa.

His time at Old Trafford was short lived with the forward only making 13 appearances, scoring twice. Brown said: "Henrik Larsson is another, quality player. I'm pretty sure he's said in the past he should've stayed one more year, he was brilliant whilst he was here."

Sir Alex Ferguson said upon Larsson's exit: “We would love him to stay but, obviously, he has made his promise to his family and Helsingborg and I think we should respect that – but I would have done anything to keep him.”

Another striker who left his impression on Brown was Louis Saha, who moved to Manchester from Fulham in 2004. The Frenchman was battling against the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy and was hampered by injuries throughout his time at Old Trafford.

Brown said on coming up against him on a daily basis: "Louis Saha if he didn't get as many injures - in training he was one of the hardest to come up against. Strength, physique, good in the air, good with both feet." Saha would eventually score 42 times in 124 outings.

Gary Neville has previously recalled how the Frenchman gave him the run around: "He destroyed me at centre-back twice. Once when he was in the Championship in the FA Cup, and next time in the Premier League."