Monday 20 November 2017

Forget Sneijder, our kids are up to the task -- Ferguson

Ian Herbert

Alex Ferguson declared yesterday that "you can forget" the idea of Manchester United signing Internazionale's Wesley Sneijder, as the manager was happy to advance with the new crop of emerging young players at the club.

Ferguson, who deflected criticism away from his 20-year-old goalkeeper David de Gea by asking why no one had criticised the Spaniard's opposite number, Manchester City's Joe Hart, in the Community Shield, declared that he was "certainly not looking to add" to his "roll call of players."

It has never been Ferguson's strategy to seek a like-for-like replacement for a player, such as Paul Scholes: he creates a side out of the players he has. Ferguson said the purchase of another midfielder would only hold back the progress of 18-year-old French midfielder Paul Pogba, whom United risk losing in two years' time.

"We'll have to give him opportunities to see how he can do in the first team. He's got the ability, the physique and the athleticism," Ferguson said.

Tom Cleverley's emergence as an incisive midfield playmaker at Wembley underlined his potential and Ferguson insisted De Gea (20) would play in United's opener at West Brom tomorrow, despite acknowledging his technical failure in not gathering Edin Dzeko's 30-yard shot which gave Manchester City a 2-0 interval lead last Sunday. "He was stepping forward as the shot was about to be hit and then he took a step back and got himself a bit unbalanced," Ferguson said. "It wasn't so much a goalkeeping mistake, but more of a technical mistake in terms of his feet."

Comparing Joleon Lescott's headed opening goal past De Gea with Chris Smalling's against Hart, Ferguson said, with some irritation: "It was interesting there was no criticism of Joe Hart. It was exactly the same type of goal, and he's your bloody national goalkeeper."

And Ferguson said he was unaware that De Gea had conceded more goals from distance than any other goalkeeper in La Liga, at Atletico Madrid last season.

The manager, for whom Patrice Evra is a doubt tomorrow, said Javier Hernandez's freak concussion incident on tour in the US would keep him out until mid-September, with United's extra precaution a result of a similar problem he experienced at Guadalajara two years ago.

The return of Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia to action will continue with the reserves on Monday. (© Independent News Service)

West Brom v Manchester Utd,

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 1, 4.0

Irish Independent

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