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Manchester United - Sir Alex Dispels Retirement Talk – Again

Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson dispels retirement talk – againSir Alex Ferguson says he still harbours no thoughts of retiring from management on the eve of his attempt to win a 20th Premier League title for Manchester United.

In 2002 Ferguson, who is now 69, famously backtracked on an earlier announcement that he would retire. Since then intrigue has surrounded how much longer he will remain in office at Old Trafford.

"I did that silly thing where I said I was going to retire some years ago," said Ferguson, before referring to his wife. "Cathy put a stop to that.

"Now the situation has changed. You come to realise as you get older that you have been on the treadmill for such a long time, you don't want to get off it. So I will keep going, working."

Ferguson, speaking before an audience in Dunfermline on behalf of the Mary Leishman Foundation, believes his youthful United team can claim another championship. "I am confident because I trust the players and I feel we have had a nucleus of young players developing for a while," Ferguson said.

"We had a few out on loan last year and they have come back as better players. We had 13 players under the age of 22 in the United States [for pre-season games]. So it is looking like a very young squad. Darren Fletcher is one of the older ones, at 27."

Fletcher missed the end of last season with a virus. His manager revealed the Scotland international is stepping up his rehabilitation in what is also a boost to his country ahead of Euro 2012 qualifying matches next month.

"Darren is back training now," Ferguson said. "He will play for the reserves on Monday. He has put weight back on and is doing great.

"When Darren joined us at 15, he had a lot of problems with his ankles and missed a lot of foundation work at the club. He had the resolve and perseverance after that to get to where he is, he has worked his socks off. He is a big-game player; he excels in temperament and discipline, obeying instructions to the letter of the law. In big games you need that."

Asked as to how he keeps a wealthy group of players in check, the United manager cited basic principles. "All they want to do is play football," said Ferguson. "That's the hold I have over them, that's my strength. No matter about their private lives, their egos, they all want to play football and all want to win.

"Most of these boys say they are working class but they are not. Their fathers or grandfathers might have been but they're not. I try very hard to make them think as if they are working class. It's an important issue that, a quality. You have to know what it means to be working class and what a working-class ethic is."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ewan Murray, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 11th August 2011 23.26 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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