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Defiant Ferguson ready for life after Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted Manchester United will recover from the shock of losing Wayne Rooney and he is already preparing to build his next championship-winning side.

sports Updated: Oct 21, 2010 11:10 IST

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted Manchester United will recover from the shock of losing Wayne Rooney and he is already preparing to build his next championship-winning side.

News that Rooney wants to quit Old Trafford, less than two years after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, has led some critics to wonder whether United under Ferguson are now in terminal decline.

In a statement confirming his desire to leave on Wednesday, Rooney accused United of lacking ambition by failing to sign elite-level talent to replace the likes of Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez. But Ferguson responded with a defiant counter-blast late Wednesday, insisting United would continue to regenerate successfully as they have done repeatedly throughout the legendary Scot's 24-year reign.

"I always believe that a four-year cycle is probably the most you can achieve," Ferguson told journalists in a compelling press briefing following United's 1-0 Champions League victory over Turkish side Bursaspor.

"There's very, very few teams that can create more than that four-year cycle. Last season we almost did that. We were one point short." Ferguson said the club had taken a deliberate policy decision to recruit young footballers capable of replacing the generation of United stars who have formed the cornerstone of the club's success for the past decade or so.

"To continue to maintain that high level of consistency of being up there challenging, which is as imporant as anything, we had to inject youth into the club," Ferguson said. "We realised some years ago that (Ryan) Giggs, (Paul) Scholes and (Gary) Neville are never going to last forever and therefore our policy is to develop footballers in their place."

The problem, Ferguson said, is that not everyone is capable of spotting the potential in a young player. "I had a player who once said to me that Rooney and Ronaldo weren't good enough. Can you believe that? They actually said they weren't good enough. "And they weren't prepared to wait until they were good enough. And that's the problem with potential. People don't identify potential. They're very poor at it," Ferguson said.

"But I've identified it all my life in young people. I know potential. I know where it can be developed. I know how to develop it. And I have faith in it. And young people surprise you when given opportunity. "And that's what this club is about. So when you see Manchester United at the moment with all these young players, you can't see Manchester United three years ahead because you're not thinking about that."

Ferguson again insisted that United were capable of big-money signings if they were deemed suitable, flatly refuting the widely held view that United's financial structure -- the club is more than 700 million pounds in debt -- has hampered its ability to compete at the high end of the transfer market.

"We will invest for signature players when the time is ready. This summer it was not ready as far as I was concerned. There was no value for me," he said.

Ferguson also warned Rooney that any move to a new club was unlikely to be an improvement on United, where he has already accumulated eight major trophies in the six years since he signed from Everton as a teenager in 2004.

"Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in your own field," Ferguson remarked. "And it never really works out that way. It's probably the same cow or not as good as your own cow.

Some players like to think that it's better somewhere else. It never really works." Ferguson, meanwhile, is already planning to renew his squad after last year's disappointment of missing out on a record fourth consecutive Premier League title. "We lost it by one point. We don't like that and we're trying to do something about it. We'll get there. I have every confidence in that.

"The structure at the club is good, we have the right staff, the right manager, the right chief executive. There is nothing wrong with Manchester United -- not a thing wrong with it. So we'll carry on."