Manchester United to field youngsters in League Cup, confirms Phelan

The assistant manager has defended the club's selection process for the competition, dismissing claims that Sir Alex Ferguson does not consider the tournament as important

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has confirmed that the club will likely field a largely inexperienced side against Newcastle United in the League Cup on Wednesday.

The Red Devils have been eliminated at the fifth-round stage in the previous two seasons, but Phelan has insisted the tournament is high on the club’s agenda despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s insistence to include youngsters.

“We've got options and we have to make sure this game helps us involve other players as well as the ones who have been playing in the last five or six games,” Phelan told the club’s official website. “It's important we given them the opportunity to perform.

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“We've got a good mix of youth and experience and we want to make sure we perform and the players involved show their abilities and what they can offer.

“The manager has always seen these games as an opportunity to look at progress and to see where some players are at and if they're capable of being part of a long season. The hardest part is giving them the competitiveness and the games in order to prove that.

"You don’t just want one game, either – you want more than one. And hopefully this cup competition offers us that.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has also confirmed that his own matchday squad will also include those on the fringes of the squad, but Phelan is aware the club will not risk their chances to progress too much and is still expecting a number of first-team regulars.

“I don't know what Newcastle will do [in terms of team selection], but over the past year or two teams in general have started to look at this competition as an opportunity, not just to blood one or two youngsters, but to chase the cup and try and win it.

"There's a trophy at the end of it for someone, and we always set out to win every competition we’re involved in.”