Football

Phelan: Young guns, go for it

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Mike Phelan would never describe them as the new "Class of 92" but it somehow seems perfect that on a weekend when Paul Scholes is raising doubts over his career, a fresh crop of Manchester United stars are making their presence felt.

It is nearly 20 years ago now that - led by Ryan Giggs - Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville emerged. If Darron Gibson, Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda enjoy even a third of the success Giggs has enjoyed, they could count themselves very fortunate indeed.

For now, the future is Tuesday night's Champions League trip to Wolfsburg, and assistant manager Phelan said: "To get a crop to compare to the 1992 group would be difficult," said Phelan. "This next crop are fewer in number but they still have the capability to play for this football club. There is no reason why they shouldn't break through and hold certain positions within the team."

The young guns in 1992 were so good it forced Sir Alex Ferguson to sell big-name stars to make way for them.

Indeed, the departure of Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis seemed so extreme there were even polls run wondering whether United's illustrious manager should be sacked.

The folly of that particular call has long since been exposed and, remarkably, all five are still playing; three of them at Old Trafford.

Phelan added: "We are a progressive club and we do give young players an opportunity.

"But obviously they still have players in front for them who they need to dislodge. That is the competitive element we will always retain at this club."

Of the present group, Gibson is the one for whom the clock is ticking loudest.

Still in their teens, Welbeck and Macheda - who signed a four-year contract extension earlier this week - have time on their side to iron out the obvious flaws that exists in their games.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Ryan Giggs
European News
Federico Macheda
Football
David Beckham
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Alex
Danny Welbeck
UEFA Champions League
Andrei Kanchelskis
Manchester United
Paul Scholes
Mark Hughes
Darron Gibson
Nicky Butt
Gary Neville
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