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Former Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson biggest influence on my career - Ryan Giggs

Manchester United's Phil Jones revealed he was devastated when hearing of Sir Alex Ferguson's health condition and believes he has the 'fight' in him to recover.
Mark Ogden explains how the sporting world reacted to the news of Sir Alex Ferguson's illness.

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as "the biggest influence on my career" and said his prayers were with him as he recovers after emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

The former Aberdeen and United manager was admitted to the Salford Royal Hospital on Saturday.

Giggs, given his United debut by Ferguson as a 17-year-old in 1991, told the BBC he had seen the 76-year-old two weeks ago and said his recovery would be "all about positive thinking."

"He's had a huge impact on my career," he said. "I've known him since I was 13, I played for him until I was 40, so we know each other extremely well.

"It's not just on the pitch, it's off the pitch as well. He's been a brilliant person to speak to -- if you ever had any problems or difficulties, he always said his office was open.

"He has been the biggest influence on my career by far. I was with him two weeks earlier, I was sat next to him at a dinner and he was fine, and I was at the game when he presented Arsene Wenger with his memento [against Arsenal at Old Trafford].

"It was a shock, but now it's all about positive thinking. I understand the op has gone well, and even though he is still in a critical condition we all hope that he makes a full recovery.

"My wishes and prayers go to him and his family. It is not a nice time now, because you are just waiting and just hoping that he does recover."

Fans of Aberdeen, the club at which Ferguson made his name, unveiled a banner wishing him well during Tuesday night's home draw with Rangers.

Sir Alex won three league titles, four Scottish Cups and a Cup Winners' Cup during eight years as Dons manager before moving to Old Trafford in 1986.

The fans' banner, which said: "Sir Alex, get well soon," followed comments from current Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes, who said: "Here's hoping he can come through it. You see the outpouring of goodwill and affection towards him.

"Everyone connected with the club has the same warm wishes towards him. We will all stay positive and say a prayer for him."

Ferguson retired from management in 2013 after almost 27 years in charge of United, but has continued to regularly attend matches and participate in UEFA coaching initiatives.

He remains the most successful manager in British football history, winning 49 trophies with 38 of those coming during his time at Old Trafford.

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