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Belief in United's youth spurs Fergie on

ALEX Ferguson is certain he is doing the right thing by introducing another batch of talented youngsters to his Manchester United first-team squad.

In Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley, Ferguson has integrated a quartet of English players into his Old Trafford plans that could provide a platform for United over the next decade. It maintains a philosophy Matt Busby introduced with his famous Babes back in the 1950s and which Ferguson quickly recognised needed to be revived after he succeeded Ron Atkinson in 1986.

"I believe in young people," Ferguson said. "You need a foundation at a football club and that is vital. You can build a first team, but you really do need the back-up and the foundation to make it a football club."

By making such bold changes this season, which have come at a cost to Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand in particular, Ferguson has strengthened the ties which have bound him to United for the past 25 years.

The Scot has repeatedly stated he has no plans to stand down just yet, even though he will celebrate his 70th birthday on New Year's Eve.

However, in a tribute to Ferguson shown on MUTV, chief executive David Gill has confirmed the person who replaces the former Aberdeen boss must share the same vision.

"It will be difficult to replace him -- it's naive to say anything other than that," said Gill.

"But we are a great club whose values go back in history to our heritage to the 50s and 60s and the last 25 years with Alex.

"To continue with that, the new manager needs to understand those values and the vision for the club and must buy into that."