Thousands of Manchester United fans entered a competition run across Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, all hoping to win a spot at the Manchester United video chat with Chivas. The competition provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chat exclusively to first-team players Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matić and Victor Lindelöf, hear from a legend and win exclusive prizes.
The virtual chat kicked off with United legend Dennis Irwin, who provided insights into the success behind the Club’s blend:
“It’s absolutely key for the Club to always be a blend; a blend of different personalities and different characteristics. Balanced players are what makes a partnership work, alongside a blend of youth and experience. I had 12 years with Ryan Giggs – our blend of experience and youth worked perfectly.
“I played under Sir Alex Ferguson, who was so good at blending personalities within the Club together. Managing players is the hardest thing in today’s game! You wouldn’t win a game with 12 of the same players – it requires a combination of youth, experience, aggressiveness and know-how.”
Read on to find out what our competition winners quizzed Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matić and Victor Lindelöf about on the day.
If you could pick another position to play, what would it be and why?
Central defence is my favourite position, but if I wasn’t that then I’d want to be a striker. It’s a tough position, but you score all the goals and get all the celebrations! However, I’m really happy where I am in my position.
What’s the definition of the United way for you?
For me, it’s winning. You come to this Club to win matches and trophies. It’s all about winning!
Who was your football icon growing up?
When I was young, everyone (including myself) wanted to be David Beckham, taking shots and freekicks in the playground! When I got older I really looked up to Rio Ferdinand – as central defender I watched a lot of his games, playing for both England and Manchester United.
How is it to play games without fans in the stadium?
It’s a strange time for everyone at the moment with the pandemic and having no fans in the stadium is a big thing for our Club. We’re desperate to get the fans back in the stadium! We still know how important each game is and that we have to win each game, but we miss the fans. It’s strange without them, we miss the atmosphere. Our fans are the loudest fans about so obviously we want to get them back in!
What is your most memorable match?
I’ve played in a lot of memorable matches in the year and a half I’ve been at this Club. My favourite match to date still is my debut against Chelsea. Walking out with all my family and friends in the stands was incredible. It was a beautiful day, the stadium was full and we had a great result of a 4-0 win and a clean sheet. It was a perfect debut!
If you weren’t a footballer, what would you be?
I worked really hard at school to make sure I got good grades, so I would have definitely stayed on at school and maybe gone to university. I didn’t have an occupation in mind, but I was quite good at maths and numbers so would have gone down that route and tried to find a job with that.
What is the best Man Utd match you’ve played in?
There have been many great games, so it’s a difficult decision! However, I’ll never forget the game at home against Manchester City where we won 2-0, because the atmosphere was incredible. You really felt the 75,000 people watching and supporting us in the stadium and that will stay in my memory for a long time.
Who’s your favourite Man Utd legend?
Hard question but I would go for Nemanja Vidić, partly because we have the same name and come from the same country! He won five Premier Leagues with the Club so he was very good.
Does the game without fans in the stadium effect performance?
It affects everyone, it’s not easy to play without supporters. We always try to adapt and to give our best but it’s not the same without those people. We still know millions are watching on TV and we try and find motivation there, but we miss the fans at the stadium.
Who was your biggest football idol growing up?
When I was a kid my idol was Zinedine Zidane as I played a similar position to him then. When I grew up, my coach decided I was better as a defender and midfielder.
Was the team rejuvenation of using younger players a strategy for the Club?
I think the Club has always used younger players and that’s important. Currently, we have many players from our academy like Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe. It’s always important to have experienced players in the team too for a perfect blend. I believe we have a good way with those young players, and it’s important to give them the chance to play – they’re the future of this Club!
Who’s your favourite former Man Utd player?
There’s been a lot of great players in this Club so it’s a hard question, but I would say both Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand.
Who was your footballing idol growing up?
When I was young I just liked watching football and learning as much as possible rather than following one specific player. I used to play as a midfielder, so I watched a lot of those players.
Which former United player would you like to have in the current squad?
There’s been a lot of great players, but if I had to pick one, I would say maybe Cristiano Ronaldo.
What’s been your happiest moment at the Club?
When I signed here, that was a big moment for me and I was very happy. Ultimately, my main goal here is to win trophies. We haven’t been able to win a trophy yet in my time here, so I have to wait for that to happen. When we win and get that trophy, that will be my happiest moment! However, it’s amazing to play at this Club and every day I wake up and feel happy to be here.
What’s it like playing in front of no fans at the stadium?
It’s different – of course we want to play at a full Old Trafford, it’s the best feeling in the world. Hearing our fans screaming is the best! We’re used to it now but it’s not the same. When the fans are here they help us a lot by getting us going, and when it’s tough they help us.
If you get distracted during the game, how do you refocus?
In a game you always try to be focused all the time, as anything can happen. I always try to maintain my focus throughout the game and that’s one of my strengths – to always be focused. The other team can win the ball back at any point so being focused is very important.
Find out more about the event below.