The two teams meet in the FA Cup tonight.
McDermott joked: “I’ll never get to those amount of games, he started a lot younger than me.
“But he is enthusiastic and it summed it up for me when he came to our game against Stoke. He wanted to see the opposition and that tells you everything you need to know about the man.
“I’ve read a lot about Bill Shankly and what he did — Jock Stein too.
“Sir Alex Ferguson has to be right up there. He’s the figurehead of that club.
“From when he took over to where they are now is incredible. He’s a top guy, too, and I have a lot of time for him, he’s good company.
“It’s funny, but I think this game means more to me than the players.
“I’m older and I’m off to manage a side at Manchester United. When you’re younger, you think these things will happen year in and out — but sometimes that isn’t the case.
“The players’ attitude is great but I appreciate the opportunity to walk out at Old Trafford. I will always appreciate that and look back at it.
“I appreciate every single day but when you’re younger you don’t. You think it will last forever, so it’s a different mindset.”