The Sir Alex Ferguson conveyor belt of talent is here to stay after the Scot insisted Manchester United’s young guns will be even stronger next year.
Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Rafael – alongside 25-year-old Jonny Evans – are already powerful options for the Red Devils’ backline, while Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley are blossoming youth products.
And though the likes of Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand will not be around forever, Ferguson has made moves to ensure the fountain of youth keeps flowing at United.
“The record over the last 20 years tells you we’re not going away,” said Ferguson. “Next year we’ll have players who are maturing nicely.
“There are maybe 14 players who are aged 23 or under who could play together for another seven or eight years.
“We’ve got some improving players. The likes of Shinji Kagawa will be much better next year, and we’ve got Rafael, David De Gea, Alexander Buttner and Phil Jones, who can do anything he wants to do.
“So it’s looking good. Whether we can go on another run of three titles in a row, who’s to say? But the material’s there, it’s a hard league to win, as we all know.”
United have had a relatively easy ride in the Premier League this term, sauntering to a 15-point lead ahead of Monday night visitors Manchester City.
But Ferguson recognises competition will remain high for years to come – particularly amid rumours of a certain Special One’s return to Chelsea.
“If Jose Mourinho goes back to Chelsea as they’re talking about, you’d be expecting a big challenge there,” he added.
“City have enough money to go and buy another couple of £200,000 a week players. They’re not going to go away, are they? With the money they’ve got.
“I think Arsenal will improve – there’s some indication that Arsenal are building a better squad than people think – and Tottenham have been progressing for a couple of years now.
“I don’t agree that retaining the title is harder than winning it, because for City to win their first title in such a long time was a big achievement for them.”
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