Smith Keane to learn

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Alan Smith says he is ready to learn the midfielder's trade from Roy Keane as he prepares to start against Debrecen in the UEFA Champions League qualifier.

The 24-year-old was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson as a forward from Leeds last summer although is now being groomed to act as Keane's understudy with a view to replacing the great Irishman.

After trying out the position in pre-season Smith will have a chance to test his suitability to the role in the competitive arena on Wednesday night as Keane is expected to be rested with United holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

Ferguson has seen qualities in his young charge that lead him to believe he can succeed where the likes of Eric Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson have failed, and Smith says he is ready to learn from the master - although he doesn't expect Keane to relinquish his role any time soon.

"I've heard people say that [he can replace Keane], but they are massive boots to fill," said Smith.

"I think Roy is someone that we can all look up to and admire because of what he's given to the club.

"As for replacing him one day it's not something I've ever thought about to be honest, but I suppose if I were to learn how to play that position there could be no better person to learn from than Roy.

"But don't be writing him off, he's got a few years left in him, so you might be waiting a while."