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kids back in fergie frame

ALEX Ferguson was vilified for selecting a team of 'kids' in the League Cup in the 90s, the teenagers included David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, something which brings a smile to the veteran coach's face.

Such was the disgust of Port Vale following their game with United in 1994 that questions were even asked in the House of Commons.

Vale were not aware at the time that these players would become United legends and lead the club through the most illustrious period in their history.

"I smile when I look back to the days when I perhaps startled many people by ringing the changes," Ferguson said.

"In particular, I remember the fuss my selection for a League Cup tie at Port Vale provoked. We had Roy Keane at centre-half and Brian McClair at midfield, but that was the extent of our experienced players.

"Vale supporters, disappointed at the prospect of not being able to see some of our star names, took their complaints to the press and even to the House of Commons.

"What they didn't know, of course, was that they were witnessing the launch of the David Beckham-Paul Scholes era and we know how successful they went on to become."

Another young player United are looking to have a significant impact at Old Trafford is Paul Pogba, but his United future is up in the air.

The Reds fear they may lose the rising star, a defensive midfielder recruited at great expense and effort from Le Havre two years ago, to their fierce rivals Manchester City, as talks over a new deal for the 18-year-old hit an impasse.


Pogba's current deal expires in the summer, allowing him to speak to suitors as early as January, and a number of clubs are believed to have registered an interest in the player, currently on the fringes of Ferguson's first-team squad.

He has so far failed to agree terms on an extended deal.

But while Arsenal, Internazionale and Milan are all believed to be monitoring his progress, it is the prospect of losing the jewel in their crown to City -- where Pogba's hero, Patrick Vieira, ended his career and now retains an important role in player recruitment -- that would jar the most.

Le Havre were furious at the manner in which Manchester United conducted themselves to sign the player in 2009, with the club's president, Jean-Pierre Louvel, accusing the Premier League side of "poaching" a player under an informal contract, something United strongly denied.

With Anderson and Tom Cleverley on the long-term injured list, Ferguson is considering handing Pogba his full debut.

Much talked about midfielder Ravel Morrison may accompany the 18-year-old too, as Ferguson begins to discover whether the most talented members of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning squad can make the step up to senior ranks.

Michael Carrick, for one, has no doubts.

"I would back them to produce, definitely," said the England international.

"They certainly have the talent. They are good players. They wouldn't be threatening to play if they weren't.

"This is a great place to learn your trade and they have been doing things right."