Ferguson: De Gea and Jones can cope

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has refuted calls that his summer signings Phil Jones and David de Gea will buckle under the expectation at Old Trafford.

De Gea, 20 and Jones, 19, represent an aberrant approach from the Red Devils towards transfers, with the club usually reluctant to spend inflated fees on young players.

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Significant pressure has already been piled on the shoulders of De Gea, who was signed as a direct replacement for the retiring Dutch veteran Edwin van der Sar.

It took a bid of £18 million to convince Atletico Madrid to part with the Spanish Under-21 international goalkeeper, an exorbitant fee that many feel could backfire.

However, Ferguson has stood by his decision and explained that his former policy of signing youth players was flawed, and saw him miss out on the likes of Chelsea stopper Petr Cech.

"I went to see Cech when he was at Rennes. He was 19 and I said to myself: 'Yeah, he's too young'. But Chelsea bought him not long afterwards for £7 million or something and he's never been out of the team.

"So youth, age, it doesn't matter when you have the ability of a goalkeeper like Cech or, we know, David de Gea has.

 He's young, quick and has fantastic presence and composure. His use of the ball is outstanding."

After being granted extra leave due to their appearance at the European Under-21 Championships earlier this summer, De Gea and Jones are set to join up with their new team-mates in Seattle on their American tour, with Ferguson looking forward to integrating them straight into the squad.

"De Gea joins us in Seattle, along with Jones, so it will be good to get them involved right away as we're not too far away from the start of the season, so we've a bit of work to do there," he said.

De Gea and Jones are joining a United side that appears in transition, but Ferguson spoke of them as being part of a new 'foundation' at the club.

"They are the future of the club. The likes of Chris Smalling, Jones and Jonny Evans - we've got the three best centre-backs in the country, young ones.

"I watched the England U21 games against Spain and they did very well. I had five players, including De Gea, in the game, so it was of interest to me.

"That's what we're always trying to achieve, a foundation. And we have one that's very strong."

By Killian Woods