Ferguson plays down Larsson debate

January 12, 2007
By David Sheppard

Sir Alex Ferguson has no immediate plans to recruit Henrik Larsson when his loan from Swedish club Helsingborg expires in March.

After an impressive scoring debut against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, there has been a growing speculation that the former Celtic and Barcelona striker may extend his time at Manchester United.

Despite his advancing years, Larsson, 35, shows no signs of slowing down, fueling rumours that he will extend his time in the Premiership before returning to the relative footballing backwater of the Swedish league.

Ferguson, however, is remaining cool as the debate on the veteran's Old Trafford future continues to grow.

He said: 'Henrik is here until March 12 and we are not looking beyond that. I do not think it is pertinent at this moment anyway.

'It would not be fair to start putting Helsingborg under that type of pressure. Henrik is enjoying playing here and that is the way we are going to leave it.'

Larsson is pushing to retain his place in the side but he may have to spend some time on the bench during his first taste of English football.

Ferguson said: 'Henrik's first game was excellent for us. It gave us an insight into the type of player he is.

'He showed last week he can be a fantastic asset to us.

'He may not play all of the games but the important thing at his age and with his experience is he will understand that.

'He has an important role and we will use him when he is fresh. Looking at the next game is an issue too and which is the most important match.'

Larsson is already winning over a dressing room full of experienced internationals.

England defender Gary Neville said: 'I am extremely impressed not just with his performance but also his attitude and wanting to help us win something.

'The professionalism at his age and what he has achieved is fantastic. There are great examples in football and he is one of them.'

United are aiming to cement their place at the top tomorrow as they face Aston Villa in the Premiership.

With Chelsea struggling with injuries, Man Utd will be hoping to capitalise, increasing their six point gap.