THE ACADEMY

"We had such a large crop in the David Beckham era and the training was top class. I knew it and Sir Alex knew it. He knew they'd be in the first team and, if he says one of these will be in the first team, I'll hold my hand up because he saw our team and knows his stuff. I think there's a chance for three or four of them."

- Eric Harrison

16/07/2011 10:00, Report by Adam Marshall
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Harrison has faith

Former youth team coach Eric Harrison backs Sir Alex Ferguson's belief that last season's FA Youth Cup-winning team should provide the boss with future first-team options.

The man who schooled the best crop of youngsters to emerge in a generation knows a thing or too about developing talent at Old Trafford and, speaking to ManUtd.com towards the end of last season, he was full of praise for the side that scooped the silverware in May.

There is also little doubt in his mind that Sir Alex will have no hesitation about blooding some of the budding stars when he feels the time is right after the manager declared ahead of the final with Sheffield United: "There are boys playing who I expect will progress to the first team."

"I like the current players," admitted Harrison. "I watch most of the games on MUTV and am very impressed with Paul McGuinness, he's doing an absolutely fantastic job. He's a very good coach, a steady-Eddie guy who, along with Jim Ryan, has produced some very talented players.

"There's Will Keane, Ryan Tunnicliffe - probably at least four of them who it'll be disappointing if they don't play in the first team. I'm sure they will progress as they seem to have the right attitude. I talk to Paul and he emphasises that."

Harrison can draw some parallels to the time when David Beckham, Paul Scholes, the Nevilles et al were wowing everybody with their progression through the ranks.

"Attitude is massive," he explained. "It's the day-to-day work on Monday to Friday. Many a time, I would say I know there's a game Saturday morning but Monday to Friday is more important from my point of view.

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