Beckham pays tributes to `father figure` Fergie

London: The news of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson`s announced retirement has given rise to a fleet of tributes from footballers, with David Beckham leading the trail by declaring him as a `father figure`.

Beckham is known to be one of `Ferguson`s fledglings`, whom the Scottish manager had brought into the Old Trafford youth group and the first team.

Reminiscing old times, Beckham said that Ferguson has played the role of a father figure apart from being the best manager since his arrival at United at the age of 11.

Beckham, now playing for Paris Saint Germain (PSG), said that he had always been encouraged by the Scot in his decision to play for his country.

Beckham also said that he is grateful for the support and protection that Ferguson had bestowed on him and it has been a tough time without the manager around to handle the attention he has secured both on and off the field.

According to the report, Ferguson acted as the protective father for Beckham during the fall-out while playing for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, when he was being blamed for the team`s last 16 defeat in France by the South Americans.