Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt have said that Manchester United will continued to develop young players as they’ve always done and that the club isn’t moving away from its traditions, despite this summer’s £150m spending spree.
The sale of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal had prompted many to claim that United were abandoning long-term prospects for immediate gain and Eric Harrison, coach of the Class of 92, to claim United were losing “their soul” as a consequence.
Giggs, however, said that despite the revolution the club has begun under Louis Van Gaal this summer, United will not change.
“The club will never change. The history of the club is to play exciting football, to give youngsters a chance and to keep to the traditions of the club,” said Giggs.
“OK, Danny has left, which is disappointing because you never want to see a homegrown player leave, but this is a manager who gave Seedorf his chance, Kluivert, Xavi, Iniesta and Thomas Müller their chances.
“He’s got a track record of giving young players their chance. Tyler Blackett has played every game so far this season. Underneath Rooney and Van Persie, we have Januzaj and James Wilson.
“It will always happen that players will leave Manchester United but we’ve got to make sure that young players come through because United fans demand it,” continued United’s assistant coach.
“I want to see them come through as well. Fans never get on the backs of the young players if they make a mistake. They always encourage them. That has always been the history of Manchester United and we never want to lose that.”
Butt, who was confirmed in charge of the Under 19 squad after Van Gaal’s appointment, said that even though United had to think short-term for the moment as they seek to return to Champions League football straight away, the club will continue the tradition of nurturing young players.
“Manchester United was one of the last ones standing that had the connection between the youth and first team but we are still trying to do that. Liverpool are doing that really well at the moment, to be fair. We have always believed in getting players through,” he said.
“The Danny Welbeck thing is just something that came at a certain time in the club’s history and so people are saying they have forgotten about the club’s history – but things happen. Danny wasn’t playing often in his preferred position; the club wasn’t in Europe, so doesn’t have as many games. Sometimes you have to be fair to the player. Danny wanted to keep his England place. It is not a case of giving up on the academy but getting the club back to winning ways.
“We’ve got a manager who is a proven winner but it is a short-term thing for him. He has signed a three-year deal and is going to be here for that length of time. The club’s priority now is to win things, so unfortunately other things take a back step but there are other people working all the hours God sends to bring kids through. Me and Ryan were watching the under-9s, 10s and 11s on Monday night, so we do pay massive attention. At the minute the most important thing is getting the club back to winning ways.”
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