Whether it’s Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho or Ryan Giggs himself that’s the Manchester United manager at the start of the 2016-17 season, the current Man United assistant manager believes the club’s youth academy is still the way forward, just as it was when he came through as a player.
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With the recent emergence of academy products Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Giggs feels now is a pivotal point in United’s history, not only for the short-term, but for the long-term future of the club as well — quotes from the Guardian:
“I think it will always be part of the club’s philosophy. It’s part of the history, it’s what sets us apart from other teams. Yes, we can bring world-class players in from around the world but we want one of our own to be performing on that Old Trafford pitch, whether it’s a center forward, a winger, a defender … we need players to come through the ranks. That’s a massive part of the United history. We’re a club that gives youth a chance and that again goes back to Sir Matt Busby’s days.”
Giggs, a United academy product-turned-legend himself, knows all too well the history of the club’s youth academy as well as the benefits of a club the size of United producing its own first-team talent. Here’s the problem, though: whoever the manager is next season, he’ll be expected to compete for the Premier League title, or finish in the top-four at a minimum, otherwise he could be out of a job by this time next year.
Outside of what Mauricio Pochettino is doing at Tottenham Hotspur — and even there, Pochettino has signed a handful of up-and-coming youngsters, like Dele Alli and Eric Dier, from elsewhere — the idea of challenging for the PL title while bringing through more than one or two young players has proven merely a pipe dream.
To the brave soul who takes, or remains in, that job this summer … good luck.