Rio Ferdinand has revealed Manchester United’s future is in safe hands thanks to Northern Ireland duo Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart.
While Evans won wide acclaim for his displays in the heart of the Old Trafford defence last season, Cathcart spent much of the campaign on loan at Plymouth Argyle to gain vital first-team experience.
Only injury prevented the 20-year old from making his international debut against Italy in June but Sir Alex Ferguson handed him his first start for the Premier League champions during the Audi Cup in Munich and he took the opportunity with both hands against Boca Juniors and Bayern Munich.
The Belfast man shone following injuries to Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic and will now push to follow in Evans’ footsteps to become a regular in the United squad.
Unfortunately for Evans, he missed a decisive penalty in a 7-6 shoot-out defeat in the final against Bayern, but Ferdinand is confident that the Ulstermen can eventually replace himself and Vidic as the regular centre-back pairing.
“We’ve got two young lads who are more or less playing in the first team and I think they have very big futures ahead of them,” said Ferdinand.
“Jonny has played a good few games now and has looked comfortable and assured.
“Craig has joined us in Germany and I think he has surprised a few people by how well he has done.
“I think everyone knew he had the potential to be a very good player but against Boca Juniors in particular, he confirmed he is player of real potential at Manchester United.”