Young players 'the spirit' of Manchester United - Ferguson

Young players are "the spirit" of Manchester United, according to former manager Alex Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson believes the young players at Manchester United are the spirit of the club in spite of their significant outlay in the recent transfer window.

England striker Marcus Rashford, who has netted twice in United's last two games, is the latest in a long line of youngsters to come through the ranks at Old Trafford, with former manager Louis van Gaal having handed 14 academy graduates their full debuts during his two-year tenure.

Despite United having spent close to £150 million in Jose Mourinho's first transfer window at the helm, shelling out a world-record fee to bring former academy star Paul Pogba back to the club, Feguson – who oversaw the development of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham among others – is adamant that the club's greatest strength will always be its youth policy.

Speaking at a dinner in honour of United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, Ferguson said: "When I first came to United Bobby [Charlton] wanted to replicate what happened in the Busby era of the young players coming through and winning five youth cups, which was unbelievable.

"Looking back, it's amazing the results we had and people will recognise Manchester United in many ways and especially about who the best players were.

"But believe me, the young players will always be the spirit of Manchester United.

"The essence of Manchester United without doubt is to give young people an opportunity at this club. Bobby Charlton absolutely believed in that and that's what I tried to do."