Edwin van der Sar believes new Manchester United boss David Moyes faces a virtually impossible task trying to fill the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Dutchman spent six years at Old Trafford until his retirement in 2011, winning four Premier League titles and the Champions League.
Having spoken to Ferguson a couple of weeks before the dramatic confirmation that he was to stand down, Van der Sar was not caught completely by surprise and thinks following in the Scot’s footsteps is not going to be easy.
“I spoke to Sir Alex over an unrelated matter about two weeks before,” said Van der Sar.
“He is a great man and a great manager at a fantastic club.
“I wish him the best of luck and David Moyes also because it is almost an impossible job to step into.
“I am sure the manager and the players and the board are fully behind him. That is all you can ask for.”
Moyes has already begun making his mark, ditching first-team coach Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele from the backroom team.
Others may yet follow and it is not entirely certain who Moyes intends to bring in, although former England keeper Chris Woods seems an obvious choice, as does the ex-Everton boss’ long-time confidante Jimmy Lumsden.
The change will have to be managed during a period when Chelsea and Manchester City are expected to strengthen significantly following this season’s disappointments.
However, the one significant advantage Van der Sar feels Moyes has are the number of United players, past and present, with vast experience of winning trophies, who are still around the club.
“It is nice if you have players who win,” he said.
“That is part of the history of Manchester United. (Paul) Scholes, (Gary) Neville, (Ryan) Giggs, (Rio) Ferdinand, (Nemanja) Vidic and (Patrice) Evra now. And (Michael) Carrick.
“It is good for any manager to have those types of players in their dressing room.
“You are trying to improve, changing players and filling in the gaps, but you don’t have to build a new team all the time.”