Form is temporary, class is permanent. Nothing could sum up the character of Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton better as he patiently passed on some words of wisdom to Hong Kong's young sports lovers yesterday.
Despite the searing heat and clamour for his attention, the 75-year-old made time for all the young people gathered from a variety of sports at the Police Sports and Recreation Club in Mong Kok.
Charlton is part of a visiting Manchester United delegation. The team will play Kitchee SC tonight at the Hong Kong Stadium.
He spoke to children involved with the Operation Breakthrough organisation, which uses sport as a means to help, rehabilitate and positively reinforce young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Charlton is a Laureus World Sports Foundation academy member and Operation Breakthrough is one of its "Sport for Good" projects.
"Listen carefully to your coaches and show them respect," was Charlton's advice to the youngsters. "If you work hard and behave in the correct way you'll always get some improvement. Dedicate yourself to your sport and take pride in it.
"If you do your best, give 100 per cent all the time and you're fair, then you can always be proud of yourself."
Charlton is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders ever, and an essential member of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup and the United side that won the 1968 European Cup.
He said he was looking forward to tonight's match and was sure United would put on a good show for local fans.
"We've come all this way so we'll want to give a good account of ourselves, and I'm sure we will," he said.
The match is the last on United's pre-season Asian tour.
The regional tour has given the squad's new manager, David Moyes, a good opportunity to see his team play after he took over the reins from another United legend, Alex Ferguson, during the summer.
Charlton said he believed that Moyes would not let anybody down.
"He's the new manager and with that comes huge responsibility, but he's a fine coach with a lot of experience under his belt. He's definitely up to the job," Charlton said.