Fulham manager Mark Hughes admits the emergence of Paul Scholes proves Sir Alex Ferguson was right to bring to an end to his own career at Manchester United.
Ferguson sold Hughes to Chelsea in 1995 and the former Wales striker believes the emergence of Scholes, who remains a class act at 35, was the catalyst for his departure.
"I could see Paul's quality back then and I think he hastened my exit!" he said. "I left at the same time as Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis because Alex had complete faith in the young players like Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt."
He added: "They were the future and I was the past. Sir Alex always was and still is very good at making key decisions at the right time. He got that one right."
Hughes expects Ferguson to arrive at Craven Cottage for Sunday's clash intent on reminding a player he managed for seven years of the pecking order.
"I've never come up against a weakened Man Utd team and maybe he likes his former players to know our place!" he said.
"He's always competitive but has a lot of affection for guys who have played for him and taken the next step through to management.
"He's always supportive but always likes to beat you.
"My relationship with him now is probably better than when I was a player.
"As a player I was grateful he allowed me to play in his team and that was it, but now I'm a manager we're closer."