Fergie praises United stalwarts
Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United's senior players provide a benchmark of how young stars can become successful at Old Trafford. United have been indebted to the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville for much of the season after the trio played an unexpected part in their bid for glory. But as the three approach the twilight stages of their careers, the Red Devils' younger contingent will have to step up to fill the void as United seek to win back the Premier League crown they lost to Chelsea. Ferguson believes his stalwarts provide an example of how the young prospects can develop at Old Trafford, highlighting the development of John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher and England star Wayne Rooney. The Scot's squad will also benefit from the experience of the senior players, who he says will stay on in a coaching role after their retirement. In an interview with L'Equipe, Ferguson said: "Scholes, Giggs, Neville? They are the living proof for the young players that United's system allows players educated at the club to get success. "When they stop, they will remain. They are all preparing coach's diplomas. I can imagine the club won't let such experience leave. The next key men of the changing room? On character level, Patrice Evra is a strong power. "He has big influence on the team. But if you look at the home players, I think about John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher. They have grown at the club. And Rooney quickly made a name for himself once here. He is an example." Ferguson had already moved to bolster his ranks before the close of the last campaign, recruiting defender Chris Smalling and striker Javier Hernandez in anticipation of the new season. The United boss has been unable to recruit big-money signings in recent seasons, opting for cheaper, younger players who he believes will grow into top-class professionals. And Ferguson revealed he plans his signings a couple of years in advance to help mould his team. He added: "The reinforcements? I aim at one or two seasons ahead. I have anticipated the departures of 'United's souls', then Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown who have exceeded 30-years-old. "Chris Smalling has huge potential as a central defender. He is only 20-years-old. In or two or three years he will be at the top." On Javier Hernandez, who will complete a £10million switch from Chivas Guadalajara on July 1, Ferguson said: "We got the info (on him). We have followed his matches in Mexico. "Then, I sent two scouts who spent three weeks in Mexico, to study his environment, his way of living, his family. When we saw everything was right, we signed him." United supporters have made their feelings known throughout the season about the controversial Glazer family ownership of the club, but Ferguson said he shared no such concerns as the Americans do not interfere in football matters. He went on: "There are fans' protests toward Glazer, but that is no trouble to me, as there is no interaction with the team and the sport level. Today, protest has become a reflex. "Anyway, I like to see the yellow and green scarves. The fans love their club and they are worried. I don't have the same worry. I am only focussed on the team."
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