ESPN staff 6y

Former Man United star Ronny Johnsen keen on SE Asia coaching role

Former Manchester United favourite Ronny Johnsen, a UEFA Champions League winner in 1999, says he'd be open to making his managerial debut in Southeast Asia.

The Red Devils' ambassador was in Malaysia on Wednesday to witness the partnership signing between the club's global partner Gulf Oil International and KA Petra Sdn Bhd, a local oil and gas marine provider.

"As for me, I've had some experience with youth programmes back home in my country. Why not, if I get an offer to come here, I would consider it as I'm open to it," Johnson told NST Online.

"I have not had enough exposure in terms of football here, but I'm sure there is potential, especially where grassroots development is concerned. I have been here so many times and I can't say how much I love Southeast Asia." 

Johnson, one cap short of a century of league appearances for United, had a glittering six-year spell under Sir Alex Ferguson from 1996-2002. He racked up four Premier League titles, an FA Cup winners' medal, in addition to tasting Champions League success in the 1998-99 season.

The now 47-year-old played a full 90 minutes in the memorable 1999 final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona, alongside United's fabled Class of 1992 graduates David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.

Johnson believes the same youth system would bear fruit in Southeast Asia, where the popularity of the Premier League often overshadows domestic competitions.

"The development stage is where it matters most. People always look at the top and forget how important it is to mould and condition a player from a very young age. Once they reach the top, there's nothing much to be done, except some fine tuning," Johnson said.

The former Norway centre-back added that he believed it would only be a matter of time before his former club return to their glory days.

"They've got everything to make a solid team, but they are new, not just to the team, but the league as well. I think they just need some time to gel."

The 1-1 home draw against Stoke City last Sunday left Jose Mourinho's side in sixth position, five points behind league leaders Manchester City.

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