Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted once again that a number of the club's talented young players, most notably Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison, are on the cusp of first team involvement this season.
In a week in which the aforementioned Pogba and Morrison, two of Manchester United's most gifted young players in a generation, were strongly linked with moves to their bitter Premier League rivals Manchester City, Ferguson has hinted he is considering blooding them in the first team in a bid to negotiate the club's crippling injury list.
Michael Carrick and Patrice Evra found themselves in a makeshift back four during Manchester United's ultimately comfortable 5-0 victory over Wigan at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, and Ferguson suggests a number of the young players are now pushing for a place in his first team.
Citing Pogba, Morrison, Larnell Cole, Jesse Lingard and Ezekiel Fryers, Ferguson intimated all could play a part in Manchester United's upcoming busy fixture schedule.
"They're getting stronger as they get older," The Manchester United manager told the club's official website. "Paul Pogba will be 19 in March. Ezekiel Fryers has been involved. Larnell Cole, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison have all been involved."
While Manchester United have been famed for introducing young players at the right time in the past, Ferguson believes his latest batch are perhaps even more gifted because the standard of youth football has improved.
"When you think 'okay, possibly the standard has risen since the days when Ryan [Giggs] made his debut at 17, even our Darren [Ferguson] was young and Lee Sharpe made his debut at 17'. Quite a few players did at that time." The Manchester United supremo continued.
"But they have good ability and a good standard of play themselves so I wouldn't be adverse to trying one or two, particularly in home matches, and involving them as substitutes to give them parts of a game, which we tend to do with a lot of them. So that's certainly in my thoughts."
Pogba and Morrison's Manchester United future remain the subject of intense speculation amid reports both could leave the club at the end of the season. Ferguson has stated his desire to retain the duo but the moment there is a continued impasse in their respective contract negotiations.