Sunday, 2 September 2012

Alex Ferguson Admits to Striker Headache



Manchester United
Delighted Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson admits he is looking forward to a season of nightmare Fridays.

The capture of big names Robin van Persie and Shinji Kawaga this summer means the Reds boss is overloaded with talent.

And once Wayne Rooney returns from injury in a month's time, Fergie is going to be scratching his head like never before.

Even the treble winning squad of 1999 was not as strong in depth as his current crop - especially when it comes to attacking talent.

That side had Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole starting most weeks with Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ready to come off the bench.

But now he looks around the dressing room and sees the likes of van Persie, Kawaga, Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez all available to fill attacking roles.

Ferguson said: "Picking a team is trickier than ever before. For strikers, definitely.

"It's more difficult than in 1999, certainly. Then, Yorke and Cole developed an incredible partnership so they were always my two main ones.

"If we wanted to give them a break, Sheringham or Solskjaer would come in. We were very lucky with those four.

"But now we have a lot of variety. Van Persie is flexible because he can play in different positions...from the right or in behind the strikers.

"He is such a mobile player, there are great options with him. And Wayne can play behind and he can play up.

"Chicharito is the only one-position player and that is through the middle.

"We can play Wayne and van Persie together or use them with others. No doubt about that.

"Welbeck can play with them, there is no question about that. I have good options that is where it is going to be difficult."

One option Ferguson is without for today's trip to Southampton is winger Ashley Young.

Fergie is fuming at England boss Roy Hodgson for letting the cat out of the back this week that Young has picked up a knee injury.

He believes that has given the Saints a competitive advantage going into the game.

It's an issue Fergie believes is becoming ever more important in football as teams work out tactics to stop United playing.

He said: "England should have named the squad on Sunday. We won't be giving them that information again, that's for sure.

"I don't see why we should give them that information and Southampton know Young is not fit.

"That's fine if people assume he has been dropped. I can handle that. The player knows he has not been dropped.

"He knows he's injured so it is no disadvantage to Ashley Young. The disadvantage is to us in terms of preparing for the Southampton game. Information is important. 

"Why should anybody know what your team is? It's why I never name my team until a Saturday now."

Ferguson changed his approach to letting his players know the starting eleven for games years ago.

He added: "When I first came to England I used to name my team on a Friday.

"That didn't work because it was all over the papers the next day.

"When we played Everton the year they won the league in 1987 I decided to play three centre-backs.

"We worked on it all week and on the Saturday morning Graeme Hogg was on the back page saying "How we are going to beat Everton". I couldn't believe it.

"They had two up front in Gray and Graeme Sharp at the time so we decided to play Paul McGrath sweeper and Hogg and Kevin Moran as the markers.

"They changed and dropped in Andy Gray off Sharp. We got the result as we drew 0-0. They won the league anyway two weeks later.

"We won it for them. We beat Liverpool two weeks later 1-0 at Old Trafford. Peter Davenport scored.

"So I don't tell them the team. When we the training we do a mix and have variety with different players in different positions.

"It gets out too easy these days. They tell their agents and agents tell people. The agent maybe even have a player in the team you are playing against."

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