Sir Alex predicts great things for his latest crop

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SIR Alex Ferguson has predicted several members of the Manchester United squad set to appear at Bramall Lane this evening are poised to win first-team call-ups.

“Over the last decade we’ve worked upon bringing young talent into the club like Wayne Rooney, Chicharito, Anderson and Nani,” Ferguson, who secured his 12th Premier League title at the weekend, said. “We’ve bought those but it doesn’t disguise the fact that we also like to produce our own young players and there are several in the present youth team who are doing really well. The likes of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ravel Morrison, you see them doing very, very well.

“So, yes, we’ve got a good nucleus of young players in the club which gives us a foundation to protect and nurture the future.”

Sheffield United secured their place in tonight’s showpiece event courtesy of a 3-0 aggregate victory over last season’s beaten finalists Aston Villa. Their namesakes from Manchester ended Chelsea’s hopes of retaining the trophy with a 6-3 success. But, despite the apparent comfort of their winning margin, progress was less routine than the scoreline suggests.

Indeed, a 3-2 defeat in the first-leg at Stamford Bridge exposed several weaknesses the hosts can exploit.

“It will be a very good final,” Chelsea’s Dermot Drummy said. “Manchester United are an excellent team but I saw Sheffield United against Villa and you wouldn’t dismiss them at all either.”