Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ferguson ready to rebuild squad

Ferguson ready to rebuild squad

Manchester United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson has earmarked Anderson and Rafael da Silva to be pillars of the new Red Devils’ era.

According to an article from the Daily Telegraph, a minimum of six senior stalwarts are poised to depart the Theatre of Dreams come the end of the current campaign with the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Owen Hargreaves, Tomasz Kuszczak, Michael Owen and Wes Brown all likely to either retire or leave to pursue more playing time elsewhere.

With veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes expected to bow out from their magnificent Old Trafford careers after next season, United guru Ferguson is likely to embark on his first major overhaul of the United squad since he opted to blood youngsters such as Neville, Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt in place of Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis in the summer of 1995.

Despite Giggs and Scholes being set to be offered new one-year deals to play on till next season, Ferguson believes that the time is right for his up-and-coming promising youngsters to make the grade and be guided by the likes of United skipper Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher.

Ferguson said: "When they [players] grow old, their performance level drops, but we have to maintain a level of success at the top end of the game, at all the time.

"We can't afford bad years or breaking-in years. We have had periods like that, but we don't want it and we need to be successful all the time.

"Sometimes, when a player grows old, you have to recognise it and they have to move on."

With on-loan Wigan midfielder Tom Cleverley and striker Danny Welbeck, 20, currently on-loan at Sunderland, set to figure prominently for the Red Devils next campaign, any potential new faces are now poised to be no older than in their mid-20s.

However, it is the coming of age of the duo of Anderson and Da Silva which has assured Ferguson that they are the natural replacements of Scholes and Neville respectively.

With Brazilian anchorman Anderson seemingly set to exit the club last season after failing to make the breakthrough in recent seasons, United chief Ferguson has been thoroughly impressed by the player's newfound strength and determination this season and had no qualms in offering Anderson a new five-year contract last month.

"Long term, I hope he [Anderson] can prove to be Paul's successor," Ferguson said. "It's a big ask to reach that level and the challenge will test his confidence, but someone will have to step up to the plate one day."

United rightback Neville, who has only played four times this season in all competitions due to niggling injuries, has been firmly displaced by rampaging fullback Da Silva.

"Injury opens doors and the succession of setbacks suffered by Gary Neville has provided Rafael with more opportunities than he perhaps expected at this stage of his career," Ferguson said.

"He is one of several players who have moved their careers forward when they have been brought into the team." Chelsea's struggle to reduce the age of their squad this season has led to accusations that too many of their younger players lack experience, yet many of United's have already figured prominently at senior level.

Ferguson has also identified Jonny Evans and former Fulham defender Chris Smalling as long-term solutions for the imposing partnership of Vidic and Rio Ferdinand while new Portuguese forward Bebe is being developed to provide back-up for Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov along with the other plethora of forwards such as Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda.

The capture of Danish custodian Anders Lindegaard, 26 has also heralded the change of guard in the United goalkeeping department while youngsters Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison are expected to feature the Carling Cup next season.