Man Utd youngsters lay down marker
Sir Alex Ferguson penned a vote of confidence in the new breed at Old Trafford when he told Manchester United's fans in his match notes for the meeting with Tottenham: "Don't fret about the transfer market."
It proved to be a timely message as the second youngest side Ferguson has ever fielded in the Premier League - average age 23 - produced compelling evidence that he is in the process of building another monument to domestic domination.
The suspicion lurks that Ferguson will still need the quality and experience of a player in the mould of Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder at the sharp end of the Champions League, but the glimpse into the future offered in an emphatic 3-0 win against Spurs carried an ominous look for those wishing to deprive United of a 20th title.
They will need more to start thinking about challenging Barcelona, but this fresh young United seems well-equipped to take on any pretenders to their title, even if it develops into a local slugfest with newly expansive neighbours Manchester City.
In contrast, there was plenty to fret about for Ferguson's counterpart Harry Redknapp as the summer-long saga of Luka Modric's proposed move to Chelsea overshadowed proceedings before, during and after the game.
The manner in which Modric's head has been turned by Chelsea's interest persuaded Redknapp to leave him out at Old Trafford. And how Spurs missed his craft as possession was not accompanied by cutting edge, leaving them well beaten by the final whistle.
Redknapp appears more sympathetic to the Croatian's desire to join Chelsea, who are now understood to be willing to part with £30m to complete a deal, than does Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who declines to shift an inch from his refusal to sell at any price.
Levy is not to be moved, so Redknapp now wants him to patch up his differences with Modric, perhaps in the shape of a lucrative new contract, and move on. It is a call that needs to be made now because Spurs simply cannot afford a disaffected Modric on the margins of crucial early games.
Redknapp will have to defy one of football's laws of gravity to pull Modric back up and into the mood to play for Spurs after his mind has travelled so far down the road to Chelsea, but it is a task Levy's unwillingness to countenance a sale may require him to perform.
And Modric's fate will significantly shape Spurs' season. If Redknapp, as he says he can, talks Modric around then this is potentially a very fine side that will be embellished by his talents.
If Spurs fail to clear the clouds in Modric's mind then they are left with a major dilemma and little time to find a solution.
No such worries for Ferguson as he strode off towards the Stretford End at the final whistle with a paternal smile of satisfaction after watching a youthful United see off Spurs, robust for an hour, to win in style.
England coach Fabio Capello left a little earlier - but there was so much for him to admire as he prepares for next week's Euro 2012 qualifer in Bulgaria.
United's first goal was all-English and home-grown as Danny Welbeck headed in Tom Cleverley's cross before the striker produced a piece of individualism from the very top drawer with a flick to set up a second for Anderson.
Wayne Rooney then provided a Samson-style endorsement for the powers of restored hair with a perfect header cushioned off his shimmering new locks to complete the formalities. All this achieved with Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov on the bench and Michael Owen also in the calculations.
There was a dash and verve about United that underlined Ferguson's upbeat bulletin to supporters. Ashley Young adds pace and variety in attack, prodding Nani back towards his best in the process, while Cleverley and Welbeck have returned more mature and streetwise after loan spells at Wigan and Sunderland.
Chris Smalling coped admirably with Gareth Bale at right-back, but the most impressive performance came from Phil Jones, brought from Blackburn Rovers for £16m and already looking a threat to the established defensive order of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
Swift judgements are often rash ones but let us make one anyway. Barring accidents, this is a young player of power, poise and confidence who will be an outstanding leader for United and England over the next decade.
He is that assured. Jones performed as if he was born to play at Old Trafford. Early days, but it does not need a lingering look to appreciate such quality.
Goalkeeper David de Gea was not so convincing, with moments of mishandling that almost cost United, but he is making a major transition for a 20-year-old and deserves time and patience.
Ferguson was happy to celebrate the youth in United's squad - and they justified his optimism.