Manchester United's manager Ferguson shakes hand of his son and Peterborough United manager Darren after their pre-season friendly soccer match in Peterborough
Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson (R) shakes the hand of his son and Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson after their pre-season friendly soccer match at London Road in Peterborough, central England August 4, 2008. REUTERS

Manchester United are interested in signing Peterborough United youngster Ryan Bennett, according to Darren Ferguson.

Ferguson suggested his father, Sir Alex, had confirmed Manchester United's interest in the precocious England Under-21 international but intimated the Red Devils were just one of a number of high profile clubs to express an interest in the 6ft 2inch starlet.

Manchester United have enjoyed recent successes in their efforts to sign young English centre-halves, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both proving shrewd signings for the defending Premier League champions and it appears Sir Alex Ferguson has his eye on another prodigiously gifted defender.

Darren Ferguson admits Manchester United have expressed an interest in the 21-year-old Bennett, but dismissed reports suggesting they could sell the former Grimsby Town youngster.

"I spoke to my dad (Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson) and he likes Ryan Bennett, always has. I can understand the interest," Ferguson junior told Peterborough United's official television channel.

"It's no secret that a lot of clubs are looking at Ryan.

"I'm staying silent on who exactly is interested, but unless we get a massive offer there is no way the chairman would sell.

"We'll ignore the speculation and get on with our jobs. Ryan is a sensible lad who won't be affected by any of the speculation."

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony also confirmed Manchester United were monitoring Bennett yet warned the Premier League giants that "Posh has never been a selling club".

"Had an interesting chat with gaffer. Seems his 'pops' could be in the mix with other clubs for a certain player," MacAnthony said on Twitter.

"But Posh has never been a selling club under me unless it's what's needed so relax all!"