Eric Harrison: Gary Neville leads tributes to Manchester United ‘mentor’ as Class of ’92 coach passes away aged 81

The man who helped to bring through a generation of talent which included David Beckham and Paul Scholes has been hailed for all that he achieved

Gary Neville has led the tributes to Eric Harrison after the Manchester United coach who developed the famed Class of ‘92 passed away at the age of 81.

As the man credited with bringing through a generation of talent which would star within a trophy-laden era of success for the Red Devils, Harrison’s impact at Old Trafford cannot be understated.

He joined the ranks at United in 1981.

Having been a lower league player at the likes of Halifax, Hartlepool, Barrow and Southport, Harrison was handed the reins of the Red Devils’ youth team.

Few could have predicted the impact that he would make on first-team affairs.

The arrival of Sir Alex Ferguson as United manager in 1986 saw the scouting network at Old Trafford revamped.

There was plenty of talent to be found on the club’s doorstep, with a number of home-grown stars joining the ranks.

Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville were all local lads who would go on to enjoy iconic careers with United and England.

David Beckham would do likewise, with a Red Devils supporter lured to Old Trafford to form part of a golden generation.

Together, those who have been reunited as co-owners of Salford City, savoured FA Youth Cup success in 1992.

Ryan Giggs and Robbie Savage, two future Wales internationals, also formed part of that side. Scholes, Phil Neville and Keith Gillespie joined them a year later as another final was reached.

The Youth Cup crown was captured again in 1995, with Neville as captain, and senior recognition would not be far away.

Harrison had moulded players of obvious potential into stars who would taste Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League success.

Gary Neville has posted on Twitter after learning of his passing: “We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us.

“He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club.

“Eric we owe you everything.”

Harrison also coached the likes of Mark Hughes, Norman Whiteside and Clayton Blackmore as they made their way through the youth system at Old Trafford.

In total, he spent 27 years with the Red Devils and was awarded the MBE in December 2017.

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