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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson salutes United's veteran trio

Long-serving Manchester United trio Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have been paid a remarkable compliment by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

'They are the spirit of this club,' he said ahead of the crucial Barclays Premiership clash with Arsenal tomorrow.

The three have all played a big part in pushing United to the top of the table in their bid to regain the high ground from Chelsea.

Ferguson recognises their massive contribution to the cause over the years.

He said: 'They are the spirit of the club because of their longevity and their loyalty.

'The three are regular players. The only reason why they don't play, apart from injury, is rest.

'They have been here since they were 13 and are now in their 30s.

'That's means all three have been at the club for about 20 years. It is amazing.

'I do not think many teams can boast an achievement like that.

'When players see how contented the three are, it gives them confidence that they are in the right place.

'The impression I get is that most of players here are happy.'

The spin-off is a boost for United's recruitment drive, as Ferguson explained.

He said: 'From a young local boy's perspective looking at United and one day maybe playing for the club, these three players are great examples.

'It gives them ambition to go on and better themselves.'

The trio are all expected to figure at the Emirates Stadium and Ferguson is pleased with the squad he has at his disposal.

United are looking at a mirror image of 1999 when success in the Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup was famously achieved.

He said: 'Success is always measured by success. Every team at United has to do win and hopefully we are doing that.

'We have a good strong squad, who are getting better in terms of experience.

'You look at us and there is good energy, good speed and good ages in the team.

'I have no fears about looking ahead with this group of players.

'We have been fortunate so far when it comes to injuries and that helps enormously.

'When you have your best players, you have a better chance of winning.'