Ferguson: 'Give youngsters a chance and they seldom let you down'

Paul Scholes scored both goals for United on his debut

Paul Scholes scored both goals for United on his debut

SIR ALEX FERGUSON has explained why he made youth the foundation of his success at Manchester United - even when it led to complaints in the House of Commons.

Speaking at the opening of Salford City's Peninsula Stadium, Ferguson said: "Giving young people an opportunity is a fantastic thing and they very seldom let you down. These lads never let me down when they put that jersey on."

Salford are part-owned by Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, key members of his famous 'class of 92', who won the FA Youth Cup and became first-team stars.

The Scot says he made his commitment to youth clear when he started at United in November 1986.

"I believed in something I was not going to change," he said. "When I came down to United that morning, the chairman, Martin Edwards, and Maurice Watkins, the lawyer, were saying 'what are you going to do about tomorrow?'

"I said 'forget tomorrow, I am thinking about the future.' I wanted to build Manchester United up again, to give a foundation you can rely on. That is what I believed in, I was never going to change that."

Ferguson said this path was not always easy. He remembered a second round League Cup tie at Port Vale in September 1994, when he handed debuts to Paul Scholes, Simon Davies and David Beckham, alongside fellow 1992 Youth Cup winners Gary Neville, Keith Gillespie and Nicky Butt.

"That night down at Port Vale in the League Cup they had protests in the House of Commons," he said. "One woman MP thought I should be banned for life for not playing my full team.

"People had paid their £10 or whatever, a full house, and I played the young players and we beat them 2-1 [with Scholes scoring both goals]. That was fantastic. That was the answer."

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