Boothroyd: Fergie's the best
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Adrian Boothroyd has praised Sir Alex Ferguson on the eve of their semi-final clash.
On the eve of Watford's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, Hornets boss Adrian Boothroyd has hailed Sir Alex Ferguson as one of the all-time great managers.
Rookie Boothroyd has just over two years of managerial experience at Vicarage Road, whilst his opponent at Villa Park on Saturday boasts a bulging trophy cabinet, including eight Premiership titles and five FA Cup wins.
Despite a huge gulf in their relative achievements in the game, the two managers enjoy a good relationship with Ferguson entrusting Boothroyd with his highly-rated young keeper Ben Foster for the past two seasons.
Now the Watford boss has praised Ferguson just 24 hours before he hopes to bury him at Villa Park.
"The greatest bit of advice he gave me was: 'Be yourself, be your own man. Don't try to follow anyone else'," said Boothroyd.
"He will always pick up the phone or phone you back if he can't get to you the first time. I've never known him not to call back, which is a mark of the guy.
"We have a good relationship. He has been kind enough to say some nice things about me, and the respect I have for him is huge. To do what he has done over 20 years, at the biggest club in the world, is a fantastic achievement.
"I would like to think I could be in it (the game) for as long as he has. That is how you're judged - over time and by what you win.
"When you take a team like Aberdeen to the Cup Winners' Cup Final and break the Celtic-Rangers duopoly in Scotland, it takes some doing.
"Then, when you go to Manchester United, an absolute giant who were struggling, and take them to where they are now - he is up there with the best of all-time."
Foster is unable to play against United due to the terms of his loan, meaning childhood United fan Richard Lee will be asked to deputise at Villa Park.
The second-choice keeper admits he will have to ensure he is not overawed by the occasion as he faces some of his heroes in the semi-final.
"It is just something you have to do. To some extent it is difficult, but it is like any game you play. You have to perform to the best of your ability," said Lee.
"If you go into a game thinking 'I'm playing against Ronaldo', you are not going to perform at your best.
"At the age of three, my Dad bought me a Manchester United shirt, so I had very little choice in the matter. As a goalkeeper, my favourite United player was Peter Schmeichel, but they had fantastic players, and one of my all-time heroes was Ryan Giggs.
"It was quite surreal for him to score past me when they played here, and there is a picture in the living room at home of him going round me to score."