David Beckham says Sir Alex Ferguson's careful handling of his young stars has been key to the longevity of Manchester United's famous 'Class of 92'.
Ryan Giggs will make his 1,000th senior appearance for club and country if he plays any part in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League game against Norwich, and Beckham paid tribute to the man behind the career of the indefatigable Welshman, who today signed a one-year contract extension that takes him beyond his 40th birthday.
Beckham came through the ranks at Old Trafford alongside Giggs, as well as the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all of whom have enjoyed long and distinguished careers.
The latest chapter in Beckham's personal journey sees him back in top-flight European football following five years in the United States, after agreeing a five-month deal with Paris St Germain.
Even though he turns 38 in May, Beckham is refusing to consider retirement and concedes his continuing appetite can be traced back to Ferguson's counsel more than 20 years ago.
"When we were still teenagers, Alex Ferguson educated us to respect the game, respect our bodies and love what you do," Beckham told L'Equipe.
"Right now, it's Ryan Giggs who has gone the furthest. But hey, in the end, it might be me (who plays for the longest time)."
Beckham's performances in his first two outings for PSG - both against Marseille, one in the league and one in the cup - suggests plenty of life and fight remains in the former England captain, who after leaving United a decade ago played for Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy and AC Milan.
He played a part in the second goal in the 2-0 Ligue 1 win over OM at the weekend and followed that up by playing 85 minutes of the capital club's midweek victory over the same opposition in the Coupe de France, during which he was booked for a spiky confrontation with Jordan Ayew.
Beckham hinted in a separate interview with Canal Plus last night that he would be keen on extending his stay at PSG beyond his current deal that expires in June, with the midfielder confident he still has several good years in him.
"I know that I only have a six-month contract, but I really want to contribute to PSG becoming a big club," he added in L'Equipe.
"At my age, I cannot have a contract for two or three years, I take each year as it comes.
"If I still feel as fit, I will continue to play."
Beckham's arrival in Paris was viewed in some quarters as a deal that was as much about raising PSG's profile as it was about attaining results on the pitch, but Beckham gives that claim short shrift.
"If I can help sell a lot of shirts, no problem, all the better," he said. "It's great to see people wearing my shirt.
"In the majority of clubs in which I've played, I've heard the same thing: that I'm just there to sell shirts. It was like that at Manchester United, at Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I'm very proud that so many people buy my shirt.
"But I can also still play football a little bit, I assure you."