Smith can replace Keane
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson accepts Alan Smith could replace Roy Keane at Man United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has finally accepted that Alan Smith could be viewed as a full-time midfield option, and even a possible replacement for ageing captain Roy Keane.
The tigerish former Leeds United striker arrived from Elland Road last summer with Ferguson insisting Manchester United only wanted to consider him as an out-and-out forward.
Smith started the season brightly when handed the responsibility of leading the line but faded from the picture in the latter stages of the campaign and did not even get off the bench during the FA Cup final with Arsenal.
The England international played the second half of the 6-0 friendly romp against Peterborough United wearing the number four shirt and played in a holding midfield role behind Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
Within seconds of his introduction, Smith added an element of aggression to the proceedings and his performance had Ferguson purring afterwards as United scored all six goals after the break.
"We see a lot of potential for him too," Ferguson told Sky Sports News. "He's only 24.
"He's young and obviously it's something we're possibly looking at in terms of maybe the replacement for Roy eventually. We keep talking about it.
"You don't get Roy Keanes obviously but Alan Smith is Alan Smith and he brings a different type of character than Roy."
With Giuseppe Rossi pressing hard to join in-form Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha in the striking slots, the logical solution for Ferguson would be to withdraw Smith to midfield, particularly if he is unsuccessful in any attempt to land Bayern Munich's Michael Ballack.
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