Fletcher backs youngsters to learn

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Football News

Darren Fletcher believes one game for Manchester United is worth 10 a young player might get elsewhere as they continue their footballing education.

Sir Alex Ferguson is set to keep faith with the youngsters defeated by Besiktas last week when Manchester United face Tottenham at Old Trafford on Tuesday night in the Carling Cup quarter-final.

"These players need games. They are an important part of the squad and will probably be needed later on in the season, so we will feel the benefit right through the club," said Fletcher.

"A first-team game for Manchester United can mean the equivalent of playing 10 or 20 anywhere else. It is that big," said the Scotland skipper. "It is on so much of a higher scale.

"That was always echoed through the youth system and from my own experience I know it is true.

"It is all very well training, and at a club like United you do pick up lots, but the more games these lads get, especially big matches like tonight's, the more they will learn."

It is a view Ferguson shares, which is why he was so irritated by the criticism his players received last week and why, at the first appropriate opportunity, he launched a fierce counter-offensive.

"Those lads need to be challenged and I thought they did okay," said Ferguson. "They did not deserve that kind of criticism.

"Those same people will be going cap in hand to them, begging them for interviews in a few years' time, mark my words. It is so hypocritical.

"What is the difference between that and Alan Hansen doing it in front of millions. Yet one gets slaughtered for it and this guy gets off. Wonderful. What a world."

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Tottenham Hotspur
League Cup
Premier League
Manchester United
Darren Fletcher
Alan Hansen

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