NEWS
11/26/2011 11:20 EST | Updated 01/26/2012 05:12 EST

Ferguson says Man United youngsters will not play in Olympics, but Giggs could

MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made it clear Saturday that he doesn't want his promising youngsters playing for a British team at next year's Olympics in London if they have already appeared at Euro 2012.

Great Britain plays its opening game at United's Old Trafford ground on July 26, less than four weeks after the end of the European Championship.

Ferguson wants to protect his younger players, who could be called up for international duty at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. But he indicated he saw no problem with British team coach Stuart Pearce calling on 37-year-old Welshman Ryan Giggs, who has missed out on major tournaments.

Writing in the matchday programme for Saturday's game against Newcastle, Ferguson said: "One thing I am quite clear about is I wouldn't like to see our young players who might be involved in Euro 2012 then selected for the Olympics.

"United might well have a direct interest in this with our up and coming youngsters like Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley now on the international scene."

Ferguson said he had no problem with tournament football, but was wary of back-to-back competitions.

"I welcome their involvement at international level," he said. "They are ready for it and the experience will help them develop as they aim for the top. But if they go to the Euro finals they will need a break. I know they are fit, young and eager but they will need to rest. I'm sure Stuart Pearce will bear this in mind."

However, he left the door open to a player like Giggs, who could potentially line up with his former United teammate David Beckham as one of the overage players.

"Stuart Pearce made sense when he pointed out that a player like Ryan Giggs, who has missed out on playing in the major international tournaments with Wales, might welcome the opportunity to play," Ferguson said.

"It might well appeal. I suppose it is probably best left to individual choice."