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Nov 30, 2011

Ferguson turns to youth

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says that he will put his faith in youth for Wednesday's Carling Cup tie with Crystal Palace.

• Rooney: Giggs deserves a statue

Fringe players like Darron Gibson, Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda are set to make an appearance with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nani - who all featured in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle at the weekend - given the night off.

But it will be Ferguson's young charges who take centre stage as Chris Smalling has recovered from a cracked bone in his foot and will line up alongside Zeki Fryers, 18-year-old Frenchman Paul Pogba and highly-rated fellow teenager Ravel Morrison.

"There will be complete changes," Ferguson said. "Chris Smalling has come back and I may be able to play him. He's still young and it'll be a young squad against Palace.

"The only area where I've got problems is centre midfield. It's possible I could play Pogba in there but we'll wait and see. I've got enough players to choose from, that's for sure."

Speaking about Morrison in particular, Ferguson called him a "very talented boy" and says he has benefited from training with the first-team over the past couple of months.

"He has taken part in a lot of the first-team training now with [Paul] Pogba and Larnell [Cole]," Ferguson said. "They enjoy the challenge and it's interesting to see what they are like in these sessions and how they cope with the older players. It lets me judge their temperament and 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."

United last won the League Cup in 2010 when they defeated Aston Villa at Wembley and Ferguson thinks it is an ideal place to blood young players.

"I think the League Cup has turned into quite a good tournament," he added. "Clubs like United are able to introduce young players and ones who have not been playing regularly in the first team, and it's been good to us over the years.

"We've won two finals at Wembley with young players, which is good going, and I think it's become an important tournament for us in terms of getting the youngsters an introduction into winning and having an understanding of the progress they're making."

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