Kids Still Getting A Chance Under Mourinho At Man United

“You can’t win anything with kids!”

I actually agree with this one line from Alan Hansen. Obviously he said it about Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team in 1995 and that squad went on and won the Premier League title that season.

But in fairness to Hansen, that United side also contained the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Dennis Irwin, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Andy Cole and Eric Cantona.

The kids in question were obviously Phil and Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. That was a unique group!

Look at most of the top teams in European football and it’s hard to see a core group of young players being continually integrated into the top team. A few years ago Barcelona had a group similar to Fergie’s but it happens once in a blue moon.

When Jose Mourinho took charge of Man United last summer he stated that he’d give youngsters a chance at Old Trafford.

A year later and he has just loaned out two promising players in Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has also left for a loan spell at Aston Villa, while former ‘next big thing’ Adnan Janzaj has joined Real Sociedad on a permanent deal.

People are now using Mourinho’s quote of giving youngsters a chance as a stick to beat him with because he has let these young players leave.

See there was always a caveat with Mourinho’s words, the young players had to be good enough to warrant first-team minutes.

I’m not saying the loanees won’t be good enough to one day star for United but I doubt they are ready for the pressures that come with playing regularly at Old Trafford at the moment. Although the truth is some of them won’t make it.

You can say all you want about Ferguson giving youngsters a chance but he would have released or sold more than he gave regular games to. Again it’s just what comes with managing one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Fosu-Mensah is probably the closest to being ready out of those that have temporally departed this summer. The Dutch under-21 defender has joined Frank De Boer’s Crystal Palace. He needs to view the move as his audition to Jose. If he can impress during a Premier League season then he’ll stand a chance of getting into the United team next term.

Last season Timothy only played 96 minutes worth of league football. That’s simply not enough for the teenager. I think he’ll get more out of playing for Palace than he would being third choice at United. Plus don’t forget that Beckham spent time out on loan at Preston North End!

You can either impress on loan, like Becks did, or you can sink like Janzaj did at Sunderland last term. It’s up to the player to prove themselves.

Brazilian youth international Andreas Pereira had a successful loan spell with Granada in La Liga last year and many believe the creative midfielder might force his way into the United first team squad this season.

Then you look at the Man Utd squad that has been used during preseason.

Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell have impressed. So much so that reports suggest Jose could promote McTominay into his senior side. Scott’s already played twice in the Premier League.

Mourinho has also been impressed with Axel Tuanzebe. Jose likes his strength and his versatility at the back. After his impressive outing against Arsenal towards then end of last season, Jose stated:

“I think he did an amazing job and I think Alexis knows his name because the kid played very well.”

It will be interesting to see how many of these players get first team opportunities this season, maybe one or two of them will be loaned out but again that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to get a chance at a Old Trafford.

Both Paul Pogba and Jesse Lindgard are the two current United mainstays that prove that there are ways of getting from the academy to the top team. Admittedly they took different paths but they are both now first-team stars.

Then you have Marcus Rashford. Still only nineteen, this academy graduate has won the Europa League, the FA Cup and League Cup with United He’s also notched up nineteen goals in seventy-one appearances and picked up nine caps for the England senior side.

Rashford plays with a maturity and enthusiasm that every youngster should. His work ethic and ability to listen endeared him to Louis van Gaal. He then worked hard to gain Mourinho’s trust and he ended the season as Man United’s main striker.

It’s easy to say Mourinho won’t pick the kids but you have to look at it all in-depth and understand that players will always get the chance if they are good enough. Then it’s up to them to take that chance.

Jose Mourinho is a winner and he selects his teams accordingly. But that hasn’t stopped the likes of Rashford and Tuanzebe of getting into his Manchester United side.


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