`Indian youth need to watch, play more football`

Mumbai: The Indian youth need to have more exposure to football for the sport to get an edge over cricket in the country, feel former Manchester United greats Denis Erwin and Quinton Fortune.

"There is obviously big love for cricket. Football was the third sport in England 25 years ago. What changed over there is that people started watching more football. More young people started playing football. The national team started playing better and slowly football became the number one sport," said Irwin.

"It might take time. Cricket is very very strong over here," he added.

Irwin and Fortune are on their maiden visit to India to promote the club`s tie-up with holiday planners Thomas Cook. The duo revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson`s famous `hair dryer treatment` is more of a media sensation, and it does not happen every week. "I was fortunate and received it only a few times....He is a very fair and honest manager," Irwin said.

"It`s only when you drop the level or you are not playing as well as you are expected to," said Fortune. The Red Devil players term the manager`s wrath and the tongue-lashing as hairdryer treatment.

The two also said they don`t see the 70-year old Scot hanging his boots in the near future. "I see him every day and it doesn`t look like he is about to stop. He loves it too much. I think he will win a few more Champion Leagues before he retires," said Fortune.

Irwin said, "He will keep going on and on." Irwin said he enjoyed playing against Liverpool, though the rivalry was against the London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal.

"For me it was always a huge game when we played Liverpool," he said.

Fortune, meanwhile, said he liked playing against his team mates, "because it was competitive".

"Training was like playing the game for us. I liked to play against Roy Keane. It was difficult to get a place in the starting line-up but I worked hard," he said.

Irwin said that English Premier League was more interesting than its Spanish counterpart, because of the competition. "English Premier League offers the full package. Barcelona and Real Madrid are playing well too but it is going to be contested between them every year. You have seven teams in the mix in the EPL. Technically La Liga is much stronger, but EPL is fantastic to watch."