Ferguson backs Richardson
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Kieron Richardson to take his chance.Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Kieron Richardson to prove he can replace crocked Gabriel Heinze in the Manchester United team.
Ferguson is devastated to lose popular full back Heinze for 'most' of the season, but hopes that Richardson grasps the opportunity with both hands.
Richardson is more used to playing on the left wing, but has expressed his desperation to play regularly this season after impressing on a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion last campaign.
"The best thing we ever did for Kieran was send him on loan. He matured fantastically well," said Ferguson.
"I have no doubts he will do well for us in Gabriel's place. This could make him.
"He is quick and strong and naturally left-footed. He will also give us a different option in terms of attacking thrust."
Ferguson expressed his sorrow at the cruciate knee ligament injury that will keep Heinze out, but urged the Argentine to show his customary fight in his recuperation.
"It is horrible news. He has been a fantastic player for us, a real warrior," added Ferguson.
"It came from such an innocuous incident. He went up for a high ball, got a push from an opponent and landed awkwardly.
"He is going to miss most of the season now, if not all.
"After the operation, the rehabilitation starts.
"Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and Wes Brown, twice, have had these injuries and come back.
"The technology in terms of these injuries is better than ever. But there's still a lot of hard work to be done.
"I remember when Lothar Matthaus did his at 32. He would get up at 4am to go to the gym to strengthen his knee. That is the sacrifice you have to make."