He would go on to establish himself as one of the world's premier marksmen during his time at Anfield before leaving for Real Madrid in 2004.
Fergie said: “It was easy to follow Michael's career from a very early age as Manchester United had him training at our training school when he was about thirteen years old.
"We were really optimistic about securing him on a schoolboy form - then the silly boy signed for Liverpool!
“We were gutted as at that stage as we reckoned he was going to make it.
“From that moment on, we watched and suffered every time he played against our youth team.
“When I heard that Newcastle were prepared to let him go, I acted in a flash and got him over to my house to talk about joining Manchester United.
“I know this may go down as a bit of blowing United's trumpet, but I and my staff believed he improved as a player at United and he was an influence on young strikers like Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.
"His timing when he made these penetrating runs and his composure in scoring goals was a reminder of the great Jimmy Greaves, whose side-foot finishes were pure genius.
"I can't think of the number of times I cursed Liverpool for snatching him from under our noses!
“They were lucky to have him."
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