United Archives: Heinze
In another look back through the United Review archives, we are featuring an interview with former full-back Gabriel Heinze.
The Argentina international spoke to the official matchday programme on the final day of the 2005/2006 season, when Charlton Athletic provided the opposition, after recovering from a serious knee injury.
How does it feel to be back training and playing again?
It’s a great feeling; I’m really happy to be back. It’s been a long and frustrating eight months for me with a lot of hard work involved in getting back to fitness. It’s great just to be back training and playing football. That is what I love to do: play football.
Has your recovery come in time to play in the World Cup?
First and foremost, my mind is focused on Manchester United. In the back of my mind is Argentina and the World Cup. I am very proud to play for my country and I really hope I can do that in Germany this summer. But I won’t allow myself to think about the World Cup too much. Once the season is over, then I will think about Argentina. For now, I must get fit and do my best for my club.
How did the lads react when you came back to Manchester?
Judging by the way they have been since I returned from Spain – where I worked on my rehabilitation – they seem really pleased to have me back. It was a nice feeling for me to see my team-mates smiling when I returned to the training ground. Manchester United is a place where I have always felt loved. I’ve always felt welcome and appreciated by everyone.
How important was Sir Alex during your time out injured?
Everyone at the club has really helped me through what was a difficult time. Mr Ferguson, Carlos Queiroz, Valter di Salvo and the physios always stayed in contact. It was important for me to know that people here were thinking of me. While I was out, Mr Ferguson spoke to me regularly and encouraged me. I have to thank him for letting me choose where to go to recover from the injury in the best way.
United signed Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in January. The squad is constantly improving..
They are both good signings and they have improved the quality of the team. We have a good mix of defenders at the club now; many of them bring different qualities to the side and that can only be a good problem for the manager. For the players, it is always good to know that there is someone else waiting to take his chance if it comes. Competition is healthy.
The competition at left-back is strong – three internationals…
It’s something that should be looked at as a positive thing. It happens at the best teams in the world, you have many good players in the team that should be playing. The manager will always pick the player in form, so it keeps you on your toes.
Given the competition, do you see yourself playing at left-back or could you move into the centre?
I have always played in the centre for Argentina but, at this club, Mr Ferguson will decide where I play and I will not challenge or dispute his decisions. I will play in either position to the very best of my ability and give absolutely everything to the team.
You have built up a strong affinity with the United fans…
It’s a strange and great feeling the way in which the United fans have taken to me. All I can do is give my all, everything I can, on the pitch to show the gratitude I have for the love they have shown me.
Why do you think you have such a good rapport with them?
I don’t know why, you would have to ask the fans themselves. I approach games with the attitude that, no matter if I am playing the best game of my career or the worst, the most important thing is to give my all. Maybe the fans see that and recognise I’m giving my best for the club.