Glenn: Man U The Model

Ahead of Sunday's mouth-watering Premiership clash against Manchester United, Glenn Roeder says that he is quite happy to model West Ham on the Red Devils - and insists the idea is not so far-fetched.

To qualify that statement, he says he is talking about the fact, rarely recognised, that Sunday's visitors have built their success on producing their own players.

"I have got no doubt in my mind, I am 100% certain, that Manchester United's success over recent years is down to their academy and the young talent that they have produced themselves," he reveals.

"It has allowed the manager, when he has gone into the transfer market, to not be forced to spread himself too thinly - he can go for absolute quality, rather than quantity.

"That is because he has produced so many of his own young players of international class.

"That would be our intention, and I don't think there is anything wrong in modelling yourself on an organisation that has been successful."

And he feels that if you bring young players through the ranks they tend to acknowledge a debt of loyalty to the club they have grown up with.

"If you can get players coming through they will want to stay together because it is their club - the badge they have worn since they were probably nine or 10 years old," he explains.

Glenn feels that the club is making progress in bringing the youngsters through, while acknowledging the need to keep them once they have got into the first team.

"The names just run off the tongue so easily - Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, and several others coming through that we don't need to name because we don't want to put pressure on them," he says.

"From what I am told by Jimmy Hampson, Tony Carr and Kevin Keen, in the next three or four years there is going to be some terrific talent coming through."

Glenn obviously hopes that the next generation will not go the way of Rio Ferdinand - and out of the door.

That includes brother Anton, of course, who is continuing his progress in the reserves.

And Glenn has nothing but praise for Rio, who incidentally is ruled out of Sunday's game and a first return to Upton Park in a Manchester United shirt, due to a groin injury.

"Glenn has worked with Rio at West Ham, and he says: "Rio is up there for everyone to see.

"He is an outstanding human being - a fantastic person.

"And of course he has got the football ability to go with his character."