Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson never expected to be squaring up to David Beckham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The former United midfielder has been training with Tottenham all week as part of his preparations for the 2011 Major League Soccer season.
It had been expected the 35-year-old would agree a playing contract with Harry Redknapp's men, although so far that has not been completed.
Beckham has repeatedly claimed he could not envisage playing for another Premier League team against United, so the contractual issues have saved him from a delicate situation.
However, the former England captain did face his old club twice last term during a second stint with AC Milan, coming off a loser on both occasions. It was not something Ferguson thought would be repeated this weekend though. As far as the United boss was concerned, the timescale was just too short.
"I didn't expect David Beckham to be playing on Sunday," said Ferguson. "You cannot all of a sudden come in to train for a few days and expect to play in the Premier League, even less so against Manchester United."