david beckham

David Beckham pays emotional tribute as he bids farewell to former coach

Sad day for Manchester United fans

Sharnaz Shahid

David Beckham has paid a heartfelt tribute to former Manchester United youth team coach Eric Harrison ahead of his funeral on Tuesday. Eric passed away at the age of 81 earlier this month; he played a key role in the development of United's famous class of 92 youth team. Taking to his Instagram page, David shared a throwback picture of Eric as he recalled an emotional story. "Today we say goodbye to a great man...As I look back on what and who made me as a person and as a player, my dad, the Boss and Eric," he said.

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"I was stood one day in the cliff training ground in the reception just about to go to Annie Kay’s house (my digs) and Neil Webb walks past me and out the door, then Eric walks down the stairs from his office and right up to me and says, 'You will replace him in the first team one day'," he added. "I smiled with excitement but I also thought that's not gonna happen any time soon and then it did." [sic]

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The dad-of-four continued: "The cliff training ground brings back so many memories as does Littleton road of Eric, two laps warm up, five ball routine, 12 minute run and the damn heading game which as you can imagine I did not like, but it was all about preparing us for the first team and preparing to play for Sir Alex Ferguson & Manchester United.

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"'David stop playing those #*!¥*+€ Hollywood balls' will forever be the words that stay in my head but then Eric has me kicking a ball against a wall 60 times with both feet from different distances and that became one of my biggest strengths. Ultimately it was The Boss that had that faith in us and took us to the next level but the person that prepared us and we wouldn’t have been the players and men we turned out to be was Eric... Thank you Eric and goodbye @manchesterunited."

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Eric, who was credited with developing David and his teammates 'Class of 92' spell, spent nearly three decades at Old Trafford, and was awarded an MBE in 2017 for his services to football. He also led the team to four FA Youth Cup finals during his spell at the club, emerging victorious in 1992 and 1995. Eric was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, and passed away peacefully with his family by his side.

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