Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says the young players at the club are given room to express themselves.

England youngster Chris Smalling, 21, won plaudits for stepping into Ferdinand's role.

Yet Smalling, like other young players in the United ­set-up, is not bossed about by the older stars, instead being given time to grow used to Fergie's methods.

"You let them settle and find their feet. That's the way this club works," Ferdinand told the Daily Star.

And he is confident Fergie's team of 2011 will carry on thrilling the fans, adding: "There is such belief in the squad, we are gunning for title No.20."