January 4th 2001: “There is no doubt Wes is an outstanding young centre half,” said Jaap Stam. “He has pace, is good in the air and is a fantastic tackler. He is as good as any English centre-half in the Premiership, certainly alongside Jon Woodgate and Rio Ferdinand. The way he is playing at the minute, he obviously has a fantastic future ahead of him. I’m just looking forward to getting back into the team and playing alongside him.”

January 25th 2001: Brown favourite for England

April 9th 2001: Wes in PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist

June 19th 2001: “I’m a Manchester lad and would love to play for United for the rest of my career,” said Brown. “I’m hoping to start contract talks soon, in the next month, and am confident of everything going smoothly. It has always been my dream to play for United – and it still is. Playing for any other team, no matter who it is, would be an anti-climax for me.”

July 9th 2001: “I have been here a long time and I am looking forward to new challenges and that is what Manchester United is all about,” said Brown. “I’ve always said that I want to play for Manchester United, and signing this contract, which keeps me here until 2005, shows that. With me joining everyone else in signing, it just proves how much we love Manchester United.”

September 8th 2001: “I think Wes Brown is the best in England,” said Ferguson. “He’s better than Sol Campbell, he’s better than Rio Ferdinand, he will be a fantastic player.”

October 25th 2001: “I’ve played at the highest level in Holland, England and now Italy, and for me Wes stands out head and shoulders above any player I’ve come accross of his age,” said Stam. “He’s a phenomenal prospect and it’s frightening when you think he’ll improve as he gets more experience. There’s no doubt in my mind that Wes has got the potential to be one of the greatest defenders in Europe.”

October 27th 2002: “I just hope the lad gets a break now, stays clear of injuries and gets on with a long spell of playing because he is a tremendous player,” said Ferguson. “He has a smashing temperament and I have never had any fears about how he would handle the situation. All he needs is a bit of luck.”

February 7th 2003: “Wes helped me out a lot, showing me around when I first moved here, and you owe people like that,” said Rio Ferdinand. “On the field, he’s been brilliant. He’s been badly affected by injuries over the last couple of seasons but he’s having a new lease of life.”

February 11th 2004: ”My fitness is getting better,” said Brown. ”I could still be better, but the fitness is beginning to come now. The lads were playing brilliantly, but Rio is out for a while now and I’ve just come back into the side and we’ve let some goals in. I’ve not been playing top-notch, so I can understand it (the criticism). I’ve had my ups and downs, so I won’t let it get to me and will keep working at my game.”

April 9th 2004: “The people who are now saying Wes should go to Euro 2004 are the same as those that were slaughtering the guy and saying he was finished,” said Ferguson. “I made my point about Wes, he is one of the best natural defenders in the country and my opinion hasn’t changed.”

May 22nd 2004: “I’ve been here since I was 13 and don’t want to be anywhere else,” said Brown.

July 14th 2004: “My injuries have always stopped me achieving something,” said Brown. “It’s always halted my progress for six or eight months at a time. But you just have to keep your head up and believe in yourself and keep working. I love football. I wouldn’t be there playing if I didn’t love it so much. I don’t think you lose that desire and will to win, it’s just that when you have been out so long your body has to catch up with what your mind is thinking.”

October 2nd 2004: “We’ve made the boy an offer and he’s turned it down,” said Ferguson. “It’s his decision. He can please himself – there are no more talks planned that I’m aware of. We’d like to avoid the situation where he leaves on a free transfer. If he wants to stay we would love that. But if he wants to look elsewhere that’s up to him – there’s nothing you can do with modern-day footballers. He has changed his agent – I don’t know why. He’s got an agent that has given him advice that I do not understand. I think the problem is with the agent, not the player.”

November 4th 2004: “We are all delighted by the news,” said Ferguson over Brown’s new deal. “Over the last few weeks there has been a great deal of uncertainty and that has been a worry. I have known Wes since he was 13 years old and have watched and seen him grow into a splendid young man. I couldn’t bare to lose him, I didn’t want to lose him. I am thrilled that Wes has decided to commit his future here and I hope that he will enjoy his career at Manchester United.”

November 5th 2004: ”It’s great for me. I never wanted to leave Manchester United and now it’s all sorted – done and dusted,” said Brown. ”I was just waiting for the right one (contract) and now everyone has agreed it’s fine. Everything is back on track and I can just get on with playing. I think they have offered me a contract that proves I am part of their future set-up. It’s great to know and I’m delighted it’s all agreed and signed.”

October 27th 2005 (after returning from achilles injury): “From now on I have just got to keep training hard for when I am needed,” said Brown. “I have got to keep working on my fitness and play as many games as possible.”

February 23rd 2006: “That is the main thing you have to avoid – rushing back,” said Brown. “After two or three weeks, you feel normal, you are walking normally and you feel like you should be ready to do everything. It does your head in but you have to be patient and take it slowly. Ole would be one of the first in and when everyone had gone, he would still be in the gym. He worked so hard to get where he is now. I was like the fans. I could not wait until he had pulled on that shirt again.”

April 15th 2006: “I would take Wes to the World Cup and I have told Sven that,” said Ferguson. “When you look at John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell, I realise Sven has a lot of options but if I was England manager I would take him. Wes is an outstanding defender. A real, true, natural defender and fantastic to have in your squad. He has turned into a really important player for us.”

January 5th 2007: “I’m a Manchester lad and Old Trafford is still the only place for me,” said Brown. “My contract runs to 2008 and I would love to see out my career at United. I’ve no intention of going elsewhere.”

July 21st 2007: “Talk about me leaving this summer was rubbish really,” said Brown. “I love being a Manchester United player and I have never thought about going anywhere else. There is always competition for places here. We have brought in some more new faces and the team is looking young and good. It will be great to be involved this season. Throughout my career I’ve always been a squad player. The manager knows he can pick me and I can do a good job, so I’m very happy here. Leaving United is a conversation I would dread to have with the gaffer. I love playing for United. It’s my home town, so I’m just glad to still be here after all the injuries I’ve had. Leaving would be a step down.”

July 23rd 2007: “Wes likes it here and we will be looking to extend his deal,” said Gill.

September 1st 2007: “I always want to play,” said Brown. “That’s the main thing. If I was here and didn’t play a game then that would be completely different. But I can honestly say that when I have been fit I’ve played maybe 25-plus games a season. That’s a good amount. When everyone is fit, I don’t get on the pitch. But it’s a squad game. Throughout my time here I’ve always played the same role.”

September 22nd 2007: “I have always tried my best for the team,” said Brown. “I have been here nine years now and I would do anything for the club. It is good to know how highly I am valued by the manager. It is certainly hard to imagine ever playing for anyone else. Hopefully that won’t happen. I am happy here and hopefully I can stay here.”

December 7th 2007: “We have had several meetings with Wes’ agent but they have rejected our last offer,” said Ferguson. “It is a good offer but it is our final one. That is the end of it now and we won’t be going back. There is a possibility Wes could leave, which would be very disappointing.”

January 4th 2008: Newcastle put in a bid to sign Wes Brown

January 16th 2008: “We would clearly want Wes to stay,” said Gill. “He’s a local boy who has come through the ranks. I think he wants to stay. We’ve made him what we believe is an excellent offer, but we’ve not reached an agreement. So we’ll see how it unfolds.”

February 22nd 2008: “Players of today live in their agents’ pockets,” said Ferguson. “It’s a situation which depresses me at times, it really depresses me. Wes has been with us since he was 12, but I don’t think that matters these days. Players’ agents live their lives for them and if you are happy to go along with that, you get the situation you have got just now. But Wes knows this and the other players have told him. We wouldn’t have made the offer if we hadn’t had faith in him. It’s in his hands. It’s amazing really given that he has had such a good season and has had such a good run of games while Gary has been injured.”

April 18th 2008: Wes Brown signs new deal

April 18th 2008: “I don’t think there’s any club for Wes Brown other than Manchester United, he’s a Manchester United player and I was always quietly confident,” said Ferguson.

April 22nd 2008: “Manchester United is a fantastic club and I am delighted to have signed a new deal,” said Brown. “To be part of a team I have supported all my life is a great honour. I can see this team winning many trophies in the coming seasons and it will be great to share in that success.”

April 22nd 2008: “I am delighted Wes has signed a new contract, he has grown up at this club and is an integral part of the squad,” said Ferguson. “He has done a great job during Gary’s absence and has been a major factor in our outstanding defensive performance.”

April 30th 2008 (after beating Barcelona in European Cup semi-final): “To single out the really important people, you have to go to Wes Brown and Rio Ferdinand really because they took most of the pressure,” said Sir Bobby Charlton. “The whole game everything went through the middle. If Messi came in, he came in on his left-hand side, which was central, and every time he came in there was somebody to block his shot and it was Wes Brown or Rio Ferdinand, they were just sensational.”

May 4th 2008: “Wes has been doing it all season and you expect big performances from him,” said Rio. “Gary Neville is fit now but he’s still managed to keep his place – and that speaks volumes for the way Wes has been playing. The manager has great confidence in him, he’s a fantastic professional and I always feel comfortable playing alongside him.”

May 7th 2008: “Two more wins and we’ve got two trophies. That’s what we’re aiming for,” said Brown. “We’ve played well all season so to throw it away now would be very disappointing. We know the title is ours if we win at Wigan and we’re all looking forward to the Champions League final in Moscow. It won’t be easy but we want both trophies and we’ll do everything we can to get them.”

September 22nd 2009: “It was frustrating not to be able to build on where I was at the end of 2008,” said Brown. “Getting injured for the most of last season was not very pleasant but I am used to it I suppose. There is no point thinking ‘why me?’ I just get on with it and try to be confident. I am fit at the moment. That is the main thing.”

November 25th 2009: “I have been injured on so many occasions, I am used to coming back and trying to getting back into the team,” said Brown. “That has happened again this season. The injuries have been frustrating but this is the only place I have ever wanted to be and Manchester United is the only club I have ever wanted to play for. I am still happy to do that.”

Brown admits he is happy to pass on his experiences over his injuries to young players.

“A lot of the younger players come to me for advice. I just tell them to listen to the physios because whatever injury I have suffered, their advice always meant that I was able to come back. I have great trust in them. Injured players just have to believe in themselves, work hard, and you will get back really fit.”

November 27th 2009: “When Wes Brown is fit, he is the best natural defender in the country,” said Ferguson. “I keep thinking he is only 22 or 23 but we were doing a summary of our players’ ages and contracts the other day and I saw Wes is 30. But he has such a young approach to life which you have to pay tribute to the lad for. He has done well to deal with all the things he has had to deal with and still come out fighting. Players need a run of games to achieve consistency and get the timing and tempo of their game correct. We are seeing that at the moment. Now he is fit again and looking fantastic, he gets better all the time. Long may it continue.”

July 12th 2010: “We were close last season but it was never really in our hands. We’ve got to make sure it is this season,” said Brown. “Like we say every year, the Premier League and the Champions League are the ones we really want to win, so we’ve got to come back better and stronger this season.”

August 8th 2010: “I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football,” said Brown. “At the age of 30 I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career.”

October 2nd 2010: When asked if he was frustrated at not having a regular first-team spot this season, Brown said: “Yeah, a little bit. But I’ve always had to deal with that situation throughout my career. It’s something I’ve learned to handle. We’ve got lots of good players in defensive positions. I’m not in there at the moment. I have to keep training hard and, when I do get a chance, play well. All you can do is train hard. There’s no point sulking and letting it get to you. It might be difficult, but you have to remember that everyone wants to play every week. Unfortunately, that can’t happen.”

November 29th 2010: “I am not getting any younger now and every game I do play I just try to enjoy and do my best for the team,” said Brown. “You have to give everything for the cause. That is the most important thing for me.”

February 20th 2011: “I’ve not been getting in,” said Brown. “I’m working hard in training and that’s all I’ve been doing. I’ll keep my feet on the ground, keep training and see what happens.”

July 6th 2011: Wes Brown has a medical at Sunderland