No matter what happens this season, Sir Alex insists Manchester United’s philosophy of nurturing young talent will not change.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City have made giant strides in recent years following heavy investment in their playing squads, but the Reds boss says United will always prefer to bring young footballers through the Academy set-up.
“I think we’ll probably stick to what we’ve been doing,” Sir Alex said. “It would be difficult for us to change.
“After the spell of domination when we won the Treble in 1999 and then the two leagues following that by good points margins, that team came to an end. Everybody got older, Ronny Johnsen had some injuries, Peter Schmeichel left the club.
“There was a period when we were in transition. We then tried to build teams of young players who had been developed at the club – players like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo – as well as a few others who were coming through the youth teams.”
That preference for youth extends to new signings. Indeed, following the departures of Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville last season, the club secured David De Gea (then 20 years old), Phil Jones (then 19) and Ashley Young (then 25).
It was a move, Ferguson says, that helped ensure United’s squad remained youthful and hungry.
“I think we did what we had to do in the summer,” he said. “We brought in a goalkeeper to replace Edwin van der Sar. We brought Ashley Young in because he’s a player who can play in several positions and has a little bit of experience in terms of his time at Aston Villa.
“And then we bought a potentially tremendous young player in Phil Jones. I think that added to a decent squad that we had, in terms of blending youth and experience in the camp.
"Going into the beginning of the season, I was very positive that I had the nucleus of a very good team. Then we were hit with injury – plagued, almost – for about four months. Now everybody's back fit it’s given me a headache that I wish I