David Moyes is fond of saying that Sir Alex Ferguson, far from being an unwanted distraction, has been a helpful source of advice during his first season as Manchester United manager.
Talking about a man who gave Moyes the job and still sits on the board, he couldn't really say anything else. Ferguson is both his boss and, apparently, the head of human resources.
It would be dangerous for Moyes to pick Ferguson's brain too often. Moyes is in charge, and not just a messenger for the former manager.
But if he is going to pick up the phone, this summer would be the ideal time to do it.
Moyes took on a huge challenge when he accepted the United job last summer. But given what has happened this season, you can argue he faces an even bigger task this summer.
He will be charged with rebuilding a squad that has been a long way off the pace this season and fielding a title-challenging team come August.
Ferguson didn't end up here very often.
Over time, he became a master at tweaking his squad year after year to avoid having to make wholesale changes. After all, history suggests signing too many players in one go can have a negative impact rather than a positive one. Just look at Tottenham.
But in the summer of 1995—after United had narrowly missed out on the title and lost in the FA Cup final—Ferguson saw three key players leave.
Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince all departed. Ferguson's solution was to promote from within. Namely, the Youth Cup winners of 1992. And no one, especially Alan Hansen, needs reminding how that turned out.
That's not to suggest the answer to Moyes' problems is simply to throw a bunch of youngsters in at the deep end. The issues with his squad run deeper than those of Ferguson's 19 years ago. Moyes will spend. He has to.
But there is still a lesson there.
United have another group of Youth Cup winners waiting for their chance. The two stars of the team that lifted the trophy in 2011, Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba, have left. But there are others.
If Rio Ferdinand follows Nemanja Vidic out of the door this summer, Moyes will be left with just Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at centre-half.
But waiting in the wings are Michael Keane and Tom Thorpe. Both currently getting experience in the championship. Both England Under-21 internationals.
Midfielder Jesse Lingard is another member of the 2011 Youth Cup winners who is yet to get his big chance. He impressed on the pre-season tour last summer and has spent time at Birmingham and Brighton this season.
They are, of course, not ready to play in the Premier League every week. Probably not even every other week. Maybe just now and again.
But there should be places for them in the first-team squad. If not, then they have every right to ask why not.
All three are 21 years old. And, if Moyes doesn't see a future for them at Old Trafford, they should be allowed to leave.
They might make not make the grade. Not everyone does.
Few remember that John O'Kane and Simon Davies were on the bench at Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995/96 season. They just remember Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
But at least they got a chance.
The Class of 1992 flourished because they were given a chance. A chance that presented itself when senior players moved on.
That is set to happen again this summer. And there should be opportunities for youth team products to be included in Moyes' rebuild.
All he can do is give them a chance. And hope, just like Ferguson, his faith is repaid.
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