Eric Harrison, who launched Beckham's career, dies at 81

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Eric Harrison, the Manchester United youth team coach who launched the career of David Beckham, has died. He was 81.

United says Harrison died on Wednesday. The Premier League club says "everyone at Manchester United sends their deepest condolences to Eric's family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

No cause of death was given. Harrison was diagnosed with dementia four years ago.

Harrison developed the renowned "Class of 92" at United that alongside Beckham featured winger Ryan Giggs, midfielder Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, Phil and Gary, who played in defense.

The graduates of Harrison's youth setup went on to form the backbone of the United team dominating the Premier League for two decades under hugely successful coach Alex Ferguson. Giggs and Scholes were still in the squad when United collected its record-extending 20th English title in 2013 before Ferguson's retirement.

Harrison was hired as a youth coach by United in 1981. He retired in 1998 just before his former apprentices won the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in 1999.

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