8:56am Saturday 28th April 2012
© Press Association 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney last week offered the first glimpses of an attacking partnership that could be compared to some of the best Manchester United have ever had.
Dwight Yorke's devastating tandem with Andy Cole during United's 1999 Treble-winning campaign is regarded as the most potent of the Ferguson era. Between them, Yorke and Cole plundered 53 goals and both found the net in that famous Champions League semi-final victory over Juventus in Turin when United recovered from two-nil down.
United have not found a better combination since, and Ferguson said: "Last week we saw something really special. I know there was a lot of reference to the Yorke and Cole thing. There were similarities to that. Wayne is 26 now. Danny is 21. For the next few years they can only get better. We certainly hope so."
Welbeck has made such rapid progress this season he has ousted Javier Hernandez from the striking slot he won off record signing Dimitar Berbatov last season. The Longsight-born striker scored his 12th goal of the campaign in Sunday's remarkable 4-4 draw with Everton, when Rooney's double took him to 33 for the season.
With four England caps already and a new contract about to be signed, Welbeck is clearly a talent Ferguson is keen to nurture, and the United boss added: "Danny's movement was fantastic. Now he is fit again and playing consistently, he has developed better."
Welbeck's emergence is yet another example of United investing in youth, either their own or, as with David de Gea and Phil Jones last summer, through the transfer market.
Ferguson tends to be ridiculed for his repeated assertion there is no value in the transfer market, with many believing it is merely a front for a lack of funds being made available by the Glazer family. It is an allegation Ferguson and chief executive David Gill both deny.
And, with Manchester City spending big, along with both Chelsea and Liverpool in recent times, the policy is set to continue.
"It is hard to change our way of doing things," said Ferguson. "After the spell of domination, when we won the Treble and following that we had big point margins there was a transitional period.
"We tried to rebuild a team with young players, like Rooney and (Cristiano) Ronaldo and one or two of our own young players were starting to come through. I think we will probably stick to what we are doing."
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