Sir Alex salutes United old guard as veteran Neville pens contract extension

20 February 2009 09:21
Sir Alex Ferguson has backed his Manchester United

old guard of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville to extend their Old Trafford careers by another two years.

In the week that Giggs defied his 35 years with an imperious display at Derby and Scholes scored with a wonder strike against Fulham

, 34-year-old Neville joined his fellow veterans by agreeing a one-year contract extension on Friday.

And Ferguson refuses to rule out the possibility of the three being offered new deals again next year, after praising their ability to continue pushing themselves at the highest level.

Gary Neville has signed a new one-year contract which will keep him at Manchester United until June 2010

'We'll see what happens,'said the United boss.

'If they keep their performance levels up they'll be here for another year, there's no question about that.

'They are the spirit of this club and an example to everyone.

'Any young player can look at those three players and see how they've conducted themselves and how their drive has never changed.'

Ferguson also paid tribute to club captain Neville's determination to comeback from a career-threatening ankle injury after 18 months on the sidelines.

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He added: 'It's a demonstration by Gary that he's never going to give in.

'He's an amazing lad.'

Ferguson's own desire burns as brightly as ever and as United look to go eight points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League with victory over Blackburn

at Old Trafford this evening, he insisted it is the memory of title failures rather than successes that drives him on.

The Scot recalled selection decisions and penalty controversies from more than a decade ago as he reflected on the last-day disappointment at West Ham

in 1995 and Arsenal's1-0 at Old Trafford three years later that helped Arsene Wenger's side overhaul a 12-point deficit.

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed veterans Neville (left), Paul Scholes (centre) and Ryan Giggs to prolong their United careers

'It was a foregone conclusion until we came to the beginning of March,' said Ferguson.

'That's a great reminder of going the whole road, not taking rests.

'We don't need a rest -they're young, fit, and fresh.

'We just have to make sure we keep our focus. Every game for us now is a must win situation.'

Yet Ferguson admits he will have to select his teams carefully because Saturday's game is followed by Tuesday's Champions League meeting at Inter Milan and then the Carling Cup Final.

He will start with Jonny Evans, with Evans set to partner Rio Ferdinand in defence in the San Siro because of Nemanja Vidic's suspension.

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Source: Daily_Mail