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David Beckham Mourns Passage Of His Mentor At 81

‘We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us… we owe you everything’: David Beckham leads tributes as the man who nurtured Man United’s ‘Class of 92’ Eric Harrison dies at the age of 81

Former Manchester United youth team coach Eric Harrison dies aged 81

He helped nurture the club’s famous Class of 92 to help create the backbone of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successful United team in the 1990s

Ferguson described Harrison’s contribution to the club as ‘incredible’

Gary Neville and David Beckham led tributes on social media, saying ‘we’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us’

Eric Harrison, coach and mentor of Manchester United’s famous Class of 92, has died at the age of 81.

He played a crucial role in nurturing the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, who all became regulars in Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team and led successful careers.

Ferguson paid tribute, saying: ‘Eric’s contribution to football and not just at Manchester United was incredible.

‘When I came as manager I was lucky enough to have Eric on the staff as head of youth development, so I got to see the work he did and not just with the Class of 92 but with all the young players.

‘He built character and determination in those young players and prepared them for the future. He was a teacher, he gave these players a path, a choice and he only did that through his own hard work and sacrifice.

‘He was able to impart that education to the young which made him one of the greatest coaches of our time.’

Eric Harrison, the Manchester United coach who helped nurture Manchester United’s Class of 92, has died at the age of 81. He is pictured with (left to right) Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Terry Cooke.

Eric Harrison, the Manchester United coach who helped nurture Manchester United’s Class of 92, has died at the age of 81. He is pictured with (left to right) Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Terry Cooke

David Beckham paid Harrison a visit in 2017 after learning he was struggling with dementia

Gary Neville and Paul Scholes also visited Harrison after being contacted by his grandson

United paid tribute to Harrison and posted a picture of Beckham and the Neville brothers with Harrison after United won the FA Cup in 1996

United paid tribute to Harrison and posted a picture of Beckham and the Neville brothers with Harrison after United won the FA Cup in 1996

His Class of 92 graduates led the tributes to Harrison on Twitter after he died having struggled with dementia for four years.

Gary Neville wrote: ‘We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us. He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club.

‘Eric we owe you everything.’

David Beckham posted a picture of Harrison and the Class of 92 on Instagram and echoed Neville’s sentiments.

He added: ‘He was always watching and always with us every time we played, I can still hear him telling me NO MORE HOLLYWOOD PASSES.

‘I can still see him as we played on The Cliff training ground looking down on us either with a proud smile or a loud bang of his fist on the window knowing any minute he would be on his way down to probably advise me in the most polite way to stop playing those passes.

‘More importantly he made us understand how to work hard and respect each other and not just on the pitch. We won’t forget the life lessons he gave us.

‘Eric we love you and owe you everything. Gary, Phil, Ryan, Paul, Nicky and David.’

Gary Neville led tributes on Twitter, saying ‘we’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us’ and shared a picture of Harrison and the Class of 92 after the 1999 Treble win

Gary Neville led tributes on Twitter, saying ‘we’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us’ and shared a picture of Harrison and the Class of 92 after the 1999 Treble win

‘He was the man that probably made us… he was our second father, the one that took us from the age of 14 and delivered us to the first team ready,’ Neville told BBC Radio Five Live.

‘I think it’s probably disrespectful just to talk about the class of 92 because his biggest achievement was all those other players he brought through with equal ability that prepared them for life, not just at Manchester United.

‘I think when you talk about Eric Harrison, he didn’t prepare you for a life in football, he prepared you to actually succeed in life and the values he instilled into us… an unbelievable work ethic, the toughness of his attitude, the attention to detail.

‘He would not let you get away with absolutely anything, on and off the pitch. The way you spoke to the canteen ladies, the kit man, the way you dressed, your timekeeping, they were values that stood us in good stead for all our lives.’

Neville said his abiding memory of Harrison came after the defender had left Old Trafford and was playing for Everton, who enjoyed a 3-1 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park.

‘He rang me and all he got into me was that I was in a one-one-one with Thierry Henry and I turned my back and it was something he used to work on with me every single day,’ Neville added.

‘Even when I was 31, he never gave up on me and is a truly remarkable man.

‘I personally owe him everything. I’m a manager now and the standards I try to give my players are the standards he taught me. I’ll be forever endebted to him.

‘Some of these young players coming through now, I would have absolutely loved for Eric to grab hold of some of these young players nowadays and just put them through what we had to be put through because it was special.

‘I don’t get sad when things like this happen, I just feel absolutely blessed and lucky that I was touched by someone that had an unbelievable effect on my life.’

David Beckham paid tribute to Harrison with a message and picture on his Instagram account

Scholes echoed the thoughts of his fellow Class of 92 team-mates, admitting Harrison’s approach was perfect preparation for life under Ferguson.

‘Eric was special. He was the major influence really,’ he said. ‘He was a genius as a coach. He was a really tough man to play for but that is what made us into the streetwise players we became.

‘He is the one who taught us how to play football the Manchester United way, taught us how to handle ourselves on and off the pitch.

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