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Alex Ferguson: Managers too scared to gamble on academy players

Published 22/09/2015

Sir Alex Ferguson, left, promoted academy players such as Paul Scholes, centre and Ryan Giggs
Sir Alex Ferguson, left, promoted academy players such as Paul Scholes, centre and Ryan Giggs

Sir Alex Ferguson believes managers are not blooding enough young home-grown players because they live in fear of getting the sack.

The likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers graduated from the Manchester United youth set up and became first-team stars during Ferguson's spell in charge at Old Trafford.

But with so much money involved in top-flight football now, the Scot thinks managers are reluctant to gamble on academy products.

Ferguson told ITV News: "There needs to be a cultural change in our game to allow managers the time to breathe, to develop a system where the supporters are going 'Yeah, we've got five young kids for the first team, from the reserve or youth team, into the first team'.

"That would be great. Progress of the game. And it would benefit the English team."

Ferguson, speaking on the day his new book 'Leading' was published, seemed to agree with FA chairman Greg Dyke's claim that home-grown players were becoming an "endangered species".

"He has a point, there is no question about that, and I think we'd like to see more home-grown talent," Ferguson said.

"Give them the proper platform, proper drive, I think anything is possible."

In order to improve the state of the national game, Dyke is considering raising the quota of home-grown players in Premier League squads from eight to 12.

"I think nothing is wrong with that," Ferguson said.

"He's got the authority certainly to be listened to, there's no question of that.

"Getting the consensus from other clubs will be more difficult because there's a pressure on the managers to get the results, which means sometimes he tosses his beliefs out the window because he wants to keep his job."

During the interview with ITV, Ferguson also defended the huge salaries clubs pay to their players nowadays.

"I've no problem with what the top players get paid," he said.

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