United five to go to Antwerp
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Man United will have five players on loan at feeder club Royal Antwerp this season.
Manchester United will have five players on loan at feeder club Royal Antwerp this season.
The two sides have enjoyed a fruitful relationship in recent seasons, with the Premiership giants regularly sending their young players over to Belgium to gain first-team experience.
For the coming campaign, Dong Fangzhuo, Jonny Evans, Fraizer Campbell, Danny Simpson and Darron Gibson are due to play for Antwerp.
China international Fangzhuo has spent the past few seasons with Antwerp as he is currently unable to play in England.
Though he featured on United's pre-season tour of South Africa, Fangzhuo can not play a competitive game for the club until he either qualifies for a work permit or European passport.
Left back Simpson spent the second half of last term with Antwerp, while Campbell and Gibson will be undertaking their first loan spells away from Old Trafford.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently confirmed his intention to dispatch several younger members of his squad on loan and has now decided the quintet will benefit from a stint with Antwerp.
Meanwhile, teenage midfielder Gibson has played down suggestions from Ferguson that he could represent Northern Ireland in the future.
Ferguson has tipped Gibson and Evans to become cornerstones of the Northern Ireland side, but he will pledge his international allegiance to the Republic.
Gibson said: "I have no intention of changing back to play with Northern Ireland.
"It's my dream to play for the Republic and nothing has changed as far as that is concerned.
"I think this whole thing has come about because Sir Alex made a mistake just because he knows I'm from Derry."