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Ruud van Nistlerooy has highlighted the value of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to the club’s success.

Both Ferguson and the Dutch striker agreed new deals at Old Trafford this week and van Nistlerooy whose new £70,000-a-week contract until 2008 will earn him over £17m, revealed that the manager was a major factor in his decision to sign.

“Sir Alex is a very important factor in this,” he said.

“I spoke to him about it, about the future of the club and about his plans for the team.

“I know that with his managerial qualities there are going to be some great years to come here and I want to be a part of that.

“My first contract was due to expire when I was 30. Now I can stay here for an extra two years and during that time I want to play my best football.”

Van Nistlerooy’s display of loyalty to the Scot will be a major boost for Ferguson whose position at the Premiership champions has been somewhat undermined in recent weeks following a highly publicised dispute with United shareholder John Magnier.

The row over stud rights to racehorse Rock of Gibraltar has led Magnier to raise several questions about the clubs recent transfer dealings and there have even been suggestions that Ferguson could be forced out of Old Trafford.

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