It is easy to understand why Warren Joyce was unsympathetic to any youngster under his watch at Manchester United who might have been reluctant to go that extra yard. As a teenager, he once broke his neck on a school rugby tour of Australia but played through excruciating pain for another 10 matches over a six-week period before returning home to discover the severity of the injury. “They told me later I could have paralysed myself,” he says, almost matter of factly.
Joyce is a no-frills sort of guy. Honest, plain-speaking, a football man to the core, you can see why Sir Alex Ferguson entrusted him with guiding the futures of so many young players over two spells totalling 18 years at Old Trafford. Joyce returns to his spiritual home on Sunday as manager of Wigan Athletic, when several of is proteges, notably Paul Pogba, will be blocking the Championship club’s path to the FA Cup fifth round.
Joyce is fiercely proud of his record of producing a litany of talents. At one point during an hour of illuminating conversation, he reels off a 25-man squad, in position order, of players plying their trade in the Premier League who emerged under his tutelage at United. Read more