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Fergie's global talent search

Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz
Sir Alex Ferguson consults assistant Carlos Queiroz

Sir Alex Ferguson has nurtured some of England's finest players in recent years.

But with Manchester United's scouting system now a global enterprise, there are players on the books from Europe, Asia and the USA.

But whatever their nationality, once a player's talent has been established they must be able to answer one key question, as Ferguson explains.

AMERICAN TALENT

"Over the last three years we have taken on youngsters from across the world.

What we're trying to do is identify and bring the best young players to this club.

Jonathan Spector in action for West Ham
Spector is now playing at West Ham

Jonathan Spector, for example, is a typical product of American football. He is a quick, athletic defender who recognises danger very well and has a winning mentality.

And if he improves technically I think he's got all the other things to progress.

American football is developing at a fast rate. It's a massive country, though, which makes it difficult to have a national league which can fulfil the avenues for young players.

It's still early for America, but maybe in 20 years time if the leagues are more substantial they'll have better teams internationally."

BRIGHT FUTURE

"It is crucial that we keep identifying top young players to come to Manchester United - and not just from overseas.

And it's not just me responsible for bringing these players through. There are many people below me who work with these young boys - identifying them and bringing them to the club.

A young David Beckham
The next Beckham is waiting to be discovered

Then they're coached at all young levels, so that by the time they come to my level I'm able to answer the following question:

Have they got the temperament to play?

Because by the time they're recommended to you, you know they are good enough.

I'm very pleased with our youth identification at the moment. It's a continuous drive to be in front of everybody else but it's not easy these days.

A lot of clubs are spending a lot of money on youth systems and youth players, and these players are often on contracts.

There's even the prospect of having to deal with agents who act for 15-year-old boys, but I still find it very satisfying finding and working with these young players.

You hope that if you do that, the club tradition continues and the team will carry on winning things.

However, you can play young players all day, but you've still got to win."



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