Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail Read more...
Sir Alex Ferguson expects a competitive, entertaining tie as United begin their Carling Cup campaign against Coventry City on Wednesday night.
Iain Dowie's Sky Blues come to Manchester with just one point from their last three games, but with a huge travelling support, and Sir Alex is wary of the Midlanders' threat.
"He's doing a good job, Iain," Sir Alex told Manchester United Radio. "I watched them on Saturday against Ipswich. They lost three goals in the first half but they looked the better side to me.
"I think Coventry will have a real go. It will be a fantastic atmosphere, which I think will help them, with 10,000 of their fans here. It will feel like a real cup tie."
The United manager confirmed that he will field a host of his squad's burgeoning young talents against the Sky Blues, and hand run-outs to players who are in need of action.
"I'm going to play the younger ones, but also players like Anderson, Nani, maybe O'Shea," he said. "But the younger one like Pique, Evans, Simpson, Bardlsey, Eagles, Martin, Dong, Campbell, Kuszczak – they'll all be involved."
Sir Alex also confirmed that another match-hungry member of his squad has been pestering him for some involvement on Wednesday night.
"Wayne Rooney's been in my ear wanting to play," he revealed. "'I want to play, I want to be captain, I want to take the penalties, the corners, the free kicks, the goal kicks, the lot'.
"There's a real buzz about the place. We're really looking forward to it."
Solskjaer took temporary charge of the Reds' Reserves against Sporting Lisbon this week, but it's the striker-specific work that excites Campbell, who is itching to learn from a man described by Sir Alex Ferguson as 'one of the best natural finishers I have seen'.
"I’ve done a bit of finishing practice with Ole before, but I was speaking to him recently and he said he’s going to do some work with the strikers," Fraizer told ManUtd.com. "First he wants to do a little work himself and get back into action."
Having seen the Norwegian in action at close quarters on Carrington's training fields, Campbell admits he will be privileged to tap into Solskjaer's finishing know-how.
"I’ve spent time watching him in the past during training, and his finishing is tremendous," said Fraizer. "He was sliding in and hitting it at awkward heights, and still picking out the corners of the goal each time. It’s something I’d like to be able to do.
"He’s probably even now one of the best finishers at the club, and for him to want to teach people like me is an honour really. I’m really looking forward to working with him and trying to learn from him." Read more...
A number of players will gain rare first-team starts on Wednesday night and the United manager says it's up to them to make the most of the opportunity.
"I've just been reading Bobby's book and he speaks a lot about his early years here," the manager told Manchester United Radio. "What came across strongly was the number of times he had to say, 'Believe in yourself Bobby, you'll get your chance'. I didn't realise he was 19 before he played his first game for United. He was being kept out of the team time and time again by more experienced players.
"It's the same with these young lads. They have to keep believing in themselves and, when their chance comes, take it. And they will get chances."
Sir Alex revealed he hopes to hand opportunities to almost a dozen Reserves or fringe players, including Gerard Pique, Chris Eagles and Tomasz Kuszczak. He also said Nani, Anderson and John O'Shea could be involved.
"This is a really important night for these players. They all want regular first-team football and that's not easy to manage. I'm trying to get them games in the Premier League and in Europe too, but Wednesday is a great opportunity for them.
"You have to use your squad throughout the course of the season and I'll be doing that when the time's right. At the moment they might not see that, but it will happen and I know they won't let us down.
"A lot of these players have already shown great improvement. Chris Eagles has been sensational in training and the games he's played in. Young Jonny Evans and Gerard Pique have also been excellent, as has Danny Simpson.
"There's real promise there and that's what we want to see on Wednesday. We want them to play with the kind of commitment they see from the first-team players every week." Read more...