Sir Alex Ferguson insists he is fully aware of the threat posed by Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen, and has promised to keep a watchful eye over the talented youngster when Manchester United meet him in the Europa League this week.

The 19-year-old Danish international has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, and the Red Devils will have an opportunity to see him in close attendance on Thursday.

Eriksen is widely regarded as a rising star of the future, but made the decision to remain in Amsterdam and continue his development in the Dutch Eredivisie.

After scoring the opening goal in Ajax's recent 4-2 defeat at Feyenoord, the reigning Danish Footballer of the Year has been in impressive form and will surely be looking forward to showing his admirers exactly what he can do.

"There's a lot of attention on the young kid, you know, the Danish boy," Ferguson told United's official website. "We'll see what he's like and obviously everybody is going to be watching him.

"Ajax have always been capable of producing great players, that's the great thing about that football club. When you think back over the years to the likes of Johan Cruyff and Ruud Krol, they were some players."

Ferguson will field a strong line-up for the clashes against Ajax, even though the Premier League title race remains the club's number one priority this season.

He scoffed at recent suggestions that United would be taking Europe's second-tier competition with a pinch of salt after dropping out of the Champions League last year.

"I'm definitely treating it seriously," he continued. "The great thing about Thursday is we don't have a game next Saturday so I can play my strongest team and will play my strongest team.

"The thing is to look forward to it. It's still European football and still a good standard. I think it's amazing that, in the 55 years we've been involved in Europe, we've never played Ajax.

"When you think of all the draws that have been made, the quarter-finals and the groups, we've never drawn them.

"It'll be a full house too with a great stadium and a great pitch. They're not having a great time at the moment but I think, playing United, they will be well motivated for it and always play nice football too."

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