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Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Ferguson outlines O'Shea role
John O'Shea (right) challenges Charlton's Claus Jensen
O'Shea played at left-back against Charlton

Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on John O'Shea after the young defender put in another impressive performance in Manchester United's 3-1 win over Charlton.

The 21-year-old has found himself increasingly called into action this season, first as cover for Rio Ferdinand before standing in for Laurent Blanc against Tottenham last weekend.


I've told the players that they have had all the plaudits for the past two to five years and now they will get a bit of stick
Charlton manager
Alan Curbishley

On Saturday, the Irishman demonstrated his versatility with a spell at left-back as Phil Neville moved into midfield to replace the injured Nicky Butt.

But Ferguson believes O'Shea could eventually form a long-term central defensive partnership with Ferdinand.

"Next season Rio and John could be the partnership," Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News.

"John has been fantastic since he came into the side.

"I said the first time I saw him that for a young lad he can read the game. He has two good feet and has now developed physically."

United were still not at their best in the win over Charlton, but recovered from a first-half deficit to see off the struggling Londoners with goals from Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Charlton's defeat means they have lost all four of their home games this season and leaves them only one place off the bottom of the Premiership.

Ryan Giggs
Giggs' goal capped an eyecatching performance

Manager Alan Curbishley blamed "two calamitous pieces of defending" for the way in which his team allowed Man Utd back into the game after Claus Jensen had put the home side ahead.

"I've told the players that they have had all the plaudits for the past two to five years and now they will get a bit of stick," said Curbishley.

"It's up to them to pull themselves out of it.

"We feel deeply upset with this result. They were two calamitous pieces of defending for their first two goals.

"It's hard to take. Individual mistakes are costing us at the moment but we've got to make sure that we keep on going."

But Curbishley reserved praise for the opposition, for whom Giggs was particularly impressive.

"You can't write Manchester United off," he said.

"It's not a case of them being on the wane but rather that Liverpool and Arsenal have both improved over the past two to three years. United are still a great side.

"There's no-one better than Ryan Giggs at destroying defences, he was electrifying."

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