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Bright young things will keep United winning trophies, vows Fergie

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01 Jan 2010 07:46:03

Bright young things will keep United winning trophies, vows Fergie

After 11 major trophies, almost 400 victories and more than 1,100 goals, few would argue that the first decade of the third millennium has belonged to Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Other clubs have risen in turn to the challenge but Liverpool have come and gone again, Arsenal's plans for long-term domination have fallen away while Chelsea have not won the Barclays Premier League title since 2006. Whatever happens this season, United remain English football's dominant force and their manager endures as the game's most revered and influential figure. The next generation: United midfielder Gabriel Obertan (right) At the start of the past decade, Ferguson was looking ahead to a retirement planned for the end of the 2001-2002 season. Ten years on, that retirement date seems no nearer and, as he looked both backwards and forwards yesterday, the manager predicted another spell of success for a club he picked up from its knees after arriving in 1986. 'It's easy to have fresh targets at this club because the expectation is so high - it means you have to try and win everything,' said Ferguson as he celebrated his 68th birthday yesterday. 'You don't win everything, of course, but you try to win them all. 'And if you pick up one trophy a season, you've got to be happy withthat because we are in such a competitive league and there are a lot ofbig clubs trying for glory themselves to add to their own history. 'We have main targets in the sense of the Premier League and Champions League, the two biggest competitions, but you wouldn't discount winning the FA Cup, would you? 'The main thing is that we're happy with the squad we have now. The squad is there. We don't have reason to fear anything at all.' The real depth of Ferguson's current group will become more clear over the next six days as he juggles his resources to face the challenges presented by Leeds United, in the FA Cup on Sunday, and Manchester City, in the first leg of a much-anticipated Carling Cup semi-final next Wednesday. The 5-0 league win over Wigan on Wednesday night, however, suggested that he had other reasons to be optimistic. In particular, the performance of 19-year-old right back Rafael da Silva stood out and the introduction of his twin brother, Fabio, later in the game raised the possibility once more of the club moving into the future with two full backs from Brazil in the team. 'We've always thought highly of Rafael and Fabio,' added Ferguson. 'It's a possibility that in five years' time we will have two Brazilians as our first-team full backs. They are definite possibilities ability-wise. 'They have both been unfortunate with injuries but if they get an injury-free run, they will be top players. 'Patrice Evra is a terrific example for them. He's had a fantastic season. But they are Brazilians and I don't think you need to give Brazilians any targets. They are always ambitious, aren't they? 'I think all the young players here are doing well. I'm not unhappy atall with them. Their progress has been good and they have taken theiropportunities. Making progress: Young English forward Danny Welbeck (right) 'Danny Welbeck [19] came on the other night against Wigan and did a bit, Rafael was outstanding. 'Unfortunately, Federico Macheda [18] is injured at the moment but we know the qualities he has. Gabriel Obertan has joined the club and at 20 years of age he has fantastic potential. So all the young ones are doing very well.' Ferguson's United future will not be without its problems. It remains highly likely that defender Nemanja Vidic will leave before long, while Rio Ferdinand continues to struggle with a back condition. The England central defender is improving daily and could play within a month, but it seems the problem will accompany him throughout the rest of his career. United must also find replacements for veterans Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and have still not identified a long-term successor for goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Twin prospects: Rafael Da Silva (left) and Fabio Da Silva (right) Nevertheless, Ferguson is right to accentuate the positives. Whenever his team have seemed on the verge of retreat over the past 10 years, they have always come back stronger. The past decade belonged - in part - to Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. They both established themselves as true United icons and Rooney remains the most influential player in the Barclays Premier League. Predictably, Ferguson was asked about his own plans again. That, however, is one storyline he is not giving away to anybody. When the end of his reign does come, it will, in all likelihood, arrive without any fanfare. It was put to him that he may even fancy another six or seven years in charge. The likes of Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti can only pray that he bows out before then. 'Six or seven years?' he said, laughing. 'I'm not sure about that. 'First of all, you hope your health is still OK. That is for sure. And then you can decide. 'Whether I will still be managing, who is to say? You can never be sure.'   Sir Alex fears injured United defender O'Shea will be out for two more monthsRooney ready to gun down Chelsea as United star sets sights on goal recordVIDEO: Evans and Ferdinand on the road to recovery for Manchester UnitedMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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