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Man Utd legend Cole confident Ferguson will work to keep local core

Manchester United legend Andy Cole believes manager Sir Alex Ferguson will maintain a local core to his team.

Cole believes United can survive the transitional period and before another generation of home-produced players emerges to generate the same family feel the Nevilles, Scholes, Beckham, Butt and Brown brought to the squad.

"With only Ryan Giggs remaining it does feel like the end of an era," Cole told the Manchester Evening News.

"I grew up with all those lads. I was very new to Old Trafford when they were brought into the side and it was great for me to be around them. They made my transition from new boy to being part of the squad easier.

"They were fantastic characters both on and off the field and I just loved the banter they had. It came from being together at a young age and it was very refreshing.

"They were the fabric of the club. They knew what it was all about - it was ingrained in them and that love for the place was infectious.

"Whenever new players arrived they bought into that togetherness because it was always all around you. The home-produced boys and locals made it a family club and newcomers soon got into that.

"There is no doubt that spine of the squad for so long helped. It is not often so many young players from your own system come through at once so it is going to be tough to replicate.

"But there are still many Manchester lads coming through at the club - maybe not in such a large bunch as we saw in the 90s - but they will always be coming through at United.

"However, in the absence of a whole group of home-produced lads who've got the club woven into them, it is up to others who've had a number of years at Old Trafford behind them to take over that mantle.

"Players like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja, Vidic, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney know what it is all about. They may not be Mancunians or United Academy products but they've experienced everything.

"They know the value of the team spirit the players like Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt brought to the side.

"The manager also knows how vital all that is and I think he has got such a well-oiled machine down at United now that although the make-up and backgrounds of the personnel is changing, the United style and ethos won't alter. The new group will buy into it all and those still around will ensure that."

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Tribal Football Staff

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