News24

Fergie backs his youngsters

2009-02-28 07:29

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Manchester United's youngsters to repay his faith by lifting the League Cup on Sunday.

The European champions face Tottenham at Wembley bidding to win the League Cup for only the third time in the club's history and Ferguson has vowed to field inexperienced starlets Danny Welbeck, Darron Gibson and Jonny Evans against Harry Redknapp's team.

The youthful trio will be bolstered by more senior figures, but the United manager insists he has no fears over the ability of his rookies to prove their worth on the big stage.

"I'm absolutely 100 percent confident in their ability and have no doubts in my mind. If there were doubts, they wouldn't be playing," Ferguson said.

"They are playing because they deserve to and because their contribution in the League Cup has been terrific, but obviously, you cannot just depend on a couple of young players to win the cup for us.

"They have to be backed up by several good experienced players, no doubt about that.

"We hadn't planned to be in the final when we put the young players in. We thought 'let's have a run, get to the quarters or semis and see what they're made of. But they have progressed well."

United's famed youth policy, sparked by the Busby Babes in the 1950s, has recently struggled to reproduce the golden generation of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, who broke through together in the mid-1990s.

Bright young stars are now recruited from across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world, with Ferguson admitting United can no longer simply look to local talent to fill their youth ranks.

"It's just the way for our club at the moment," he said. "Gibson and Evans have been with us since twelve years of age, so we really regard them more or less as local boys.

"Welbeck is a Manchester boy, of course, but the two Da Silvas (Rafael and Fabio) and Rodrigo Possebon are Brazilian.

"We're concentrating very strongly on some areas of the world and that has allowed us to get these three young players from Brazil.

"But there's no actual trend or right path to bring young players through. It's really down to the scouting.

"If we see a player with talent that we think is going to have the quality we need, then we have to assess it that way and no other way."

AFP