Sir Alex Ferguson did not want David Beckham to wear the 7 shirt

The Manchester United number 7 has an illustrious history but if Beckham hadn't worn it for six years, who'd have received the honour?

Roy Keane's new autobiography, The Second Half, is filled with many talking points but perhaps one of the most revealing surrounds Sir Alex Ferguson's apparent loathing toward David Beckham receiving one of the ultimate honours at Manchester United.

From George Best through to Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona, the number shirt 7 has an illustrious history, yet Ferguson apparently attempted to deny Beckham the opportunity to join that legendary trident by offering it to Roy Keane.

Previously, Beckham had worn the number 10, while Keane had 16 on his back yet the all-action midfielder cared not for the prestige of having the 7 and said he knew what it meant to Beckham.

"At United, '7' was the iconic number," wrote Keane in his book. "When Eric Cantona left there was debate about who was going to be the next captain. I was quite relaxed about it. But there was his number, too - '7'.

"Bryan Robson had had it before Cantona and, of course, it went back to Georgie Best.

"The manager pulled me into his office and said that he wanted me to wear the '7'. I said, 'No, I'm not bothered.' And he said, 'I know Becks will want it and I don't want him to have it'."

Beckham and Sir Alex had an infamous falling out when the latter was adjudged to have hurled a football boot at the former's head after a match in an incident cited as the beginning of the end of Beckham's career at Old Trafford.

Keane, though, also had his fallings-out with Ferguson and left the club after criticising the manager on MUTV. He now "regrets" apologising to him.

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