Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo were the only world-class players he managed at Manchester United raises some interesting questions about those he left off the list.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the players who might feel aggrieved to be excluded and possible reasons why they were omitted.


Rooney has not stopped scoring goals for United since he netted that famous hat-trick on debut against Fenerbahce 11 years ago. The 29-year-old formed part of a deadly triumvirate including Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez that delivered United the Premier League and Champions League titles in 2007-08. Not many can better Rooney's record of a goal every 170 minutes for United, but the fact that Ferguson fell out with the striker twice during his spell at Old Trafford may have something to do with his exclusion from the list.


Tevez became a fans' favorite soon after moving to Old Trafford in 2007, scoring 19 goals in his first term and tucking away the first penalty in the Champions League final shootout win against Chelsea. Ferguson claimed in his second autobiography that the Argentinian lacked pace and did not train with as much enthusiasm as some of his peers. United were happy to pay the £25million fee for Tevez at the end of his two-year loan period at the club, but he joined City, which is probably another reason why Ferguson did not like him as much as the four players he mentioned. Loyalty, after all, is a quality the Scot places above all others. The fact that Tevez held up a sign that read "R.I.P Fergie" during an open-top bus tour of Manchester following City's title win in 2012 perhaps did not help his cause either.


If any goalkeeper deserved that world-class tag then it was Schmeichel. The big Dane spent eight years as Ferguson's number one and United struggled after he left in 1999. Ferguson did have his run-ins with Schmeichel, most notably when the goalkeeper let three in against Liverpool in 1994, but Ferguson regards him as the best goalkeeper he had at the club. His decision to play for City later in his career may have colored Ferguson's judgement on him, however.


Beckham and his Class of '92 colleagues epitomized everything that Manchester United was about – he rose through the youth ranks and became a Premier League star. His passing and free-kick technique were better than any of his peers at the time, but he still lacked power and pace and that is why he was not on the same level as a Ronaldo. Ferguson also felt Beckham was too easily influenced by his pop star wife Victoria and also disliked his apparent pursuit of fame. "David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game," Ferguson once said.


Keane's commitment to Manchester United was second to none during his 12-year spell at United and his qualities were valued by Ferguson too. Writing in his second autobiography, Ferguson recalled: "'He never gives the ball away, this guy,' I told the staff and players. And ball retention is a religion at Man United." Keane almost single-handedly dragged United to the Champions League final with a memorable display against Juventus in the semi-final second leg in Turin, but the pair fell out over an MUTV interview in which the midfielder criticized his team-mates and soon after he was sacked.


Ferdinand was Ferguson's record buy during his time at Old Trafford. The Scot paid Leeds £29million for his signature in 2002 and he would end up playing 455 times for the club. Ferguson built his team around the centre-back, whom he described as "graceful, balanced, with the touch of a center-forward". But Ferdinand's laid-back nature grated the former United boss at times. "He was casual," Ferguson said. "Sometimes he would glide along in second or third gear, then take off like a sports car." Ferguson claims that laid back nature was one of the reasons why Ferdinand missed a drugs test in 2003, although the Scot felt the drugs testers were more culpable for not seeking the defender out at Carrington.