Ferguson in favour of winter break

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has criticised the FA for refusing to consider a winter break, saying it handicapped the England team’s World Cup campaign.

Speaking to ESPN as the Red Devils continue their pre-season American tour, Ferguson believes the continued absence of a break was the major reason Fabio Capello’s side performed so badly in South Africa.

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Ferguson said: "The FA has to give the country the best possible chance of doing well in the World Cup.

"And because of the nature of our game and because of the demands from television to have a programme every week, the idea of a winter break - which I was first talking about 30 years ago in Scotland and have done since I came down to England - has not happened.

"The FA must realise that going into the World Cup, they have handicapped their team."

The Old Trafford supremo was quick to defend United striker Wayne Rooney’s disappointing World Cup, even claiming that he is a long way off the finished article as a world class player.

"The boy has got an incredible armoury of talent and what we have to do is to wait for that maturity. We must also nurture it and try to advise and coach in a fashion, which will improve his game," he said.

"But the most important thing I think he needs now is maturity and when he gets that I think you will see a complete footballer."

Ferguson is confident United can once again challenge for major honours, providing they do not suffer the same injury problems which saw them struggle for defensive cover last season.

"Last season, we started off with cover right along the back four in all positions but we ended up with Neville, O’Shea, Vidic, Ferdinand, the two Da Silvas and Brown all injured and most of them at the same time.

"It put a tremendous strain on us."

By Jamie Bowman

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