By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Victor Valdes has revealed he only “survived” at Manchester United thanks to two men – unheralded duo Alan Fettis and Clive Snell.
The Spanish goalkeeper had such a spectacular falling-out with Louis van Gaal that his training times were coordinated to prevent him from interacting with first-team squad members and he had to clear out his locker in the changing room.
Valdes claims he became so lonely while training at United’s Carrington headquarters that he worried for his safety.
But the 34-year-old maintained his sharpness by training with academy goalkeeping coach Fettis and prevented isolation by communicating with facility manager Snell.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Valdes said he asked Fettis: “’What if I were to hit the post and were to lose consciousness, and if I swallowed my tongue?’ Alan replied, ‘I’ve got my phone in my pocket, I’d call and they’d come to help you.’ I told Alan, ‘I feel very alone.’”
Valdes ended his 18 months of United hell by completing a loan move to Standard Liege last month after he was ostracised by Van Gaal for questioning the manager’s training methods.
Despite falling out with Van Gaal, Valdes is still grateful to the Dutchman for offering him a chance to resurrect his career at Old Trafford following a serious knee injury.
“Rancour? Not at all,” the goalkeeper added. “He [Van Gaal] gave me the chance to debut at Barça, he picked me up when I didn’t have a side and he gave me the chance to recover from my knee injury.
“I’ll always be thankful. Deep down, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”
Valdes played just twice for United and started his second Liege game in the weekend home defeat to St. Truiden.