"When somebody like Paul McGuinness comes to me and says: 'He's a first-team player', then I know to keep a special eye on the player."

- Sir Alex Ferguson

Pictured left to right: Sir Alex with two loyal Academy servants, Jimmy Ryan and Paul McGuinness

28/11/2011 10:57, Report by Adam Marshall
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Boss: Timing key for debuts

Sir Alex Ferguson has explained the detailed process that is followed when he considers whether to hand a youngster his debut.

The progress of a number of last season's FA Youth Cup-winners for Warren Joyce's Reserves has inevitably led to suggestions that more new faces could feature in Wednesday's Carling Cup tie against Crystal Palace. Zeki Fryers, Larnell Cole, Paul Pogba and Michael Keane have already made their first-team bow in the competition this term, to demonstrate that the Carrington production line is still in fine working order.

"The monitoring system here is good and there's a lot of consistency with our Academy staff," says Sir Alex in the new edition of Inside United. "These are guys that have been here a long time and know what to look for. When somebody like Paul McGuinness comes to me and says: 'He's a first-team player', then I know to keep a special eye on the player.

"From there, we'll bring the boy into first-team training for a couple of sessions. That's what we're doing at the moment with Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison, Jesse Lingard, Zeki Fryers, Larnell Cole and Michael Keane. They're all training with the first team.

"That allows me to see how they cope playing against seasoned professionals, it lets me judge their temperament. It allows me to get a far better picture of how they're progressing. And, while this is going on, you hope they're playing well for the Reserves and displaying the right attitude and enthusiasm.

"Players are never simply thrown into first-team action," he asserted. "They always follow this step-by-step process.

"I don't think we've ever been off the mark and given a boy his chance too early. That can be very damaging. If he's not up to the standards we require at United, then we don't venture there. The last thing we'd want is to humiliate a player. I'm not saying every player I've ever given a debut to has gone on to be a fantastic player at this club, but most of

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