Ex-Man United coach Nicky Butt admits the club’s youth setup ‘fell BEHIND’

Ex-Man United coach Nicky Butt admits the club’s youth setup ‘fell BEHIND’ because they became complacent ‘thinking that every young player wanted to come’ to Old Trafford

  • Nicky Butt has conceded Man United’s youth setup was left playing catch up
  • Ex-Red Devils star quit his position as head of first-team development in March
  • He spent nine years nurturing likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood
  • Butt has now opened up on how United’s academy system dropped off the pace











Former Manchester United coach Nicky Butt has conceded the club’s youth setup was left playing catch up.

Butt, who made more than 250 league appearances for the Red Devils between 1992 and 2004, quit his position as head of first-team development in March.

He spent nine years nurturing the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood before stepping down for ‘a new challenge’ and has now opened up on how United’s academy system dropped off the pace.

Ex-Man United coach Nicky Butt has conceded the club’s youth setup was left playing catch up

Striker Marcus Rashford came through United's academy

United forward Mason Greenwood is also an academy product

He spent nine years nurturing the likes of Marcus Rashford (L) and Mason Greenwood (R)

‘We did fall behind, if we’re honest. Ed, the board and the owners did realise it and that it needed an influx of money to keep up with the other teams and we got that,’ he told The Athletic.

‘United bought some of the top young players in Europe, like Hannibal (Mejbri). We bought some very good full-backs from Spain. You could see other clubs saying, “Man United are back on it.” 

‘We got stuck into thinking that every young player wanted to come to Man United and that we didn’t need to work. (But) We did. There are other big clubs close to us who could also challenge for players. It got noticed and it changed.

The Red Devils signed Hannibal Mejbri in a £9million deal from Monaco's youth ranks in 2019

The Red Devils signed Hannibal Mejbri in a £9million deal from Monaco’s youth ranks in 2019

‘We have to stay on the front foot and we have to keep buying the best players. You can’t rely on local lads all the time.’

As well as Rashford, 23, and Greenwood, 20, Jesse Lingard, 28, Tom Heaton, 35, Dean Henderson, 24, Scott McTominay, 24, Anthony Elanga, 19, Teden Mengi, 19 and Shola Shoretire, 17, have all progressed from United’s youth ranks and broken through into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current star-studded first team.

England striker Rashford has scored 88 goals in 271 matches while Greenwood has already racked up 32 goals in 114 matches despite his tender age. 

The Red Devils signed midfielder Hannibal Mejbri in a £9million deal from Monaco’s youth ranks in the summer of 2019 with the 18-year-old making just one senior appearance so far.

United’s academy setup has became famed for its conveyor belt of talent after Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville shot to stardom and became known as the Class of ’92 following huge success.

United's academy setup has became famed for its conveyor belt of talent after Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville shot to stardom as the Class of '92

United’s academy setup has became famed for its conveyor belt of talent after Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville shot to stardom as the Class of ’92

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