Sir Alex Ferguson says Shinji Kagawa will be much better next year and expects Alexander Buttner to improve after his summer move.

The United boss believes they are part of a core group of players who will mature together at Old Trafford and could potentially form the backbone of the side for the next seven years.

Ferguson underlined how United have assembled a squad that retains experienced players but includes a number of emerging talents that could dominate English football for years to come.

“The record over the last 20 years tells you we’re not going away,” said Ferguson. “[Next year] we’ll have players who are maturing nicely. There are maybe 14 players who are aged 23 or under who could play together for another seven or eight years.

“We’ve got some improving players. The likes of Shinji Kagawa will be much better next year, and we’ve got Rafael, David de Gea, Alexander Buttner and Phil Jones, who can do anything he wants to do.

“So it’s looking good. Whether we can go on another run of three titles in a row, who’s to say? But the material’s there.”

There are eleven first-team players aged 24 and under, including Anderson, Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj, Nick Powell, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling.

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