World Class Youth products

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Just been thinking about how we are a club that "gives youth a chance" and that produces exceptional young talent via the academy.

Suddenly dawned on me post Co92, what youth players have we produced which have been exceptional? Not even world class, just good enough for a club of our size and stature that we didn't buy at 18...

Looking back on an era most would like to go back to, 07/08, our team looked like this;

VDS, Brown, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Park, Tevez, Ronaldo, Rooney.

One youth player from a graduating class sixteen years earlier and a player who made his debut ten years before.

Is the reality more that we don't regularly produce youth players good enough and the Co92 was a fluke?
 

haram

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I imagine if you look around world football it is similar for most top clubs.
 

11101

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I get and agree with the general point that you're making but id argue that the CO92 was a fluke, and would be for any club. That group, and the group from La Masia, cannot be expected to be replicated. It just doesn't happen in any club.

We should be getting more than we are from the academy but to expect half a teams worth of world class players to come through in the space of a couple of years?
 

youmeletsfly

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We have a tradition of giving young players a chance. CO92 wasn't a fluke but, after that generation things changed a lot in football.

These days you can't really rely on youngsters anymore, the pressure for results is too big, especially for managers. It's nice to try and win stuff with young players, it's romantic, but it;s harder these days as expectations are growing and growing and growing.
 

charlenefan

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Darren Fletcher?
Lingard & Rashford?

All of those I would class as players that have been good enough to play for us
 

el3mel

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Fletcher was the last top player we got from academy.

Best of the rest are good players, but our fan base extremely overrate any small thing a youngster makes to make them top prospects in their early career, hence they end up slaughtering them when their over expectations aren't met.
 

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Fletcher was the last top player we got from academy.

Best of the rest are good players, but our fan base extremely overrate any small thing a youngster makes to make them top prospects in their early career, hence they end up slaughtering them when their over expectations aren't met.
I agree with this, we have produced an awful lot of dross and I would invest massively in our academy, mainly out of fear of losing out to City.
 
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Weren't Best & Charlton youth products? We've had a fair few outside of the CO92. Like an above poster said though, CO92 & La Masia are once in a lifetime.

Right now, we are better for bringing players through than every one of our close rivals.

Looking at players, with a minimum of 20 games played, so no Pereira, Foden, Hudson-Odoi etc. Players who have actually played a part for their clubs.

Arsenal - Bellerin (sort of), Iwobi, Maitland-Niles
Chelsea - Loftus-Cheek, Christensen (sort of)
Liverpool - Alexander-Arnold
Man City - None
Man United - Pogba (sort of), Rashford, Lingard, McTominay, Fosu-Mensah (sort of)
Tottenham - Winks, Kane, Onomah
 

deafepl

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If you read about our history of producing the world-class youth products generation, we managed to create groups three times, in the 50s and 60s, 90s. We were close to producing a new generation class in the 2010s with the likes of Pogba, Keane, Lingard, Januzaj and Ravel Morrisonn, only Lingard and Pogba made it so far, If Januzaj and Ravel had right attitude and assure they're in the right environment, without toxic, Keane not getting injured which has robbed his chances of playing for us, they would be good players for us. Creating a class is the most difficult task in football, it takes 5-10 years of creating one if everything goes to plan.

Hope we don't mess up with groups of Greenwoods, Graner, Gomes, Chong, Laird, Connor. if not, only one or two of them will make it for us.
 

Zlatattack

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CO92 was a fluke, that much talent, within a single group of great players, it doesn't happen often, in fact the only other example I can think of it the Xavi/Iniesta/Messi group of players at Barcelona.

We've since regularly great premier league quality players. This is a list of 20 players in the EPL from our academy last year - https://www.planetfootball.com/quick-reads/the-20-man-utd-academy-graduates-to-appear-in-the-premier-league-last-season/

Figures like that have probably been the case for the last 20-25 years.

What I think we lack is the scouting to find the very best youth in the world and then the pathway to get them into the first team regularly so that we have youth players who are the spearheads of our team, instead of squad players. Pogba is the only example of that in recent times i reckon.
 

roonster09

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CO92 was a fluke, that much talent, within a single group of great players, it doesn't happen often, in fact the only other example I can think of it the Xavi/Iniesta/Messi group of players at Barcelona.

We've since regularly great premier league quality players. This is a list of 20 players in the EPL from our academy last year - https://www.planetfootball.com/quick-reads/the-20-man-utd-academy-graduates-to-appear-in-the-premier-league-last-season/

Figures like that have probably been the case for the last 20-25 years.

What I think we lack is the scouting to find the very best youth in the world and then the pathway to get them into the first team regularly so that we have youth players who are the spearheads of our team, instead of squad players. Pogba is the only example of that in recent times i reckon.
Xavi, Iniesta and Messi didn't graduate at the same time, Xavi was in late 90s, Iniesta in early 00s and Messi in mid 00s.

Also not sure how CO92 is fluke when as per @Mr. MUJAC posted that 50% of our first team players are from our academy since academy was started in 30s or 40s.
 

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In Laird, O’Connor, Greenwood, Gomes, Chong, Tuanzebe and Garner we’ve got players that could genuinely be amazing first team players for us BUT not with the current management in place.

Personally I’d rather see Laird in the first team squad ahead of Valencia, Tuanzebe playing in the first team squad ahead of pretty much all the other centre backs, Gomes in the first team squad instead of Sanchez who should be gotten rid of and Chong in the first team squad full stop.

Young hungry players with something to prove and all the talent in the world to actually prove it, they’ll make mistakes or wrong decisions as all youngsters do (the Class Of ‘92 also did) but they’ll learn and get better for it and playing first team football. In that group if managed right they’d save us hundreds of millions but Jose is NOT the man to do that.
 

Cliche Guevara

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United have only been successful twice in our entire history predominantly due to our youth.

We’ve always produced and played young players because we are a big club, and that’s how football used to generally work anyway. This idea that we are more built on a tradition of young players than any other club is a bit of a myth. I also find the fetishising of youth players a bit odd, to be honest, and I don’t really care how our players arrive in the first team.

I actually think our modern reputation for commitment to youth is far more of a hinderance, than anything else, to be honest.

Edit: the post above being the perfect example of absolute pointless nonsense.
 

roonster09

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Even if we produce squad players, it's good enough. These are the players who save money as we would have spent 10-20 million to sign squad players, so even if a youth academy graduate becomes good enough to be a squad player then it's well worth it and should be considered as success.

Once in a while we get players who are just world class, luckily we have 3-4 of them in one batch in 90s.
 

amolbhatia50k

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United have only been successful twice in our entire history predominantly due to our youth.

We’ve always produced and played young players because we are a big club, and that’s how football used to generally work anyway. This idea that we are more built on a tradition of young players than any other club is a bit of a myth. I also find the fetishising of youth players a bit odd, to be honest, and I don’t really care how our players arrive in the first team.

I actually think our modern reputation for commitment to youth is far more of a hinderance, than anything else, to be honest.

Edit: the post above being the perfect example of absolute pointless nonsense.
Definitely disagree with it being a hinderance. If anything our obsession with buying success is a bigger hinderance. I'm not saying Rashford and Lingard are top class players because they're not but having a few first teamers who are used to the ethos of the club is useful and saves us funds for strengthening other areas. It's just that right now this is offset by a team in absolute turmoil.
 

Red_Ramirez

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Even if we produce squad players, it's good enough. These are the players who save money as we would have spent 10-20 million to sign squad players, so even if a youth academy graduate becomes good enough to be a squad player then it's well worth it and should be considered as success.

Once in a while we get players who are just world class, luckily we have 3-4 of them in one batch in 90s.
I'm a realist...I'm happy with that too... but we're in a minority i'm afraid

We've seen the abuse and ridicule decent players and good youth pros the likes of Welbeck, Cleverly, Gibson, Evans, Fletcher and O'Shea have received in recent years.
 

Raees

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I think once we get the playing philosophy right in the first team that will also impact the academy and we are more likely to produce better players or players who are more like to to transition better into the first team and go on to become stars.

When we do have good technical players like Pogba, Pereira, Rossi etc we’ve never really allowed them to play in the first team or had the same trust in them like we do physical talents like Fletcher, McTominay. We need to change our mindset in terms of what we prioritise when looking for first team players of the future.
 

Sky1981

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In Laird, O’Connor, Greenwood, Gomes, Chong, Tuanzebe and Garner we’ve got players that could genuinely be amazing first team players for us BUT not with the current management in place.

Personally I’d rather see Laird in the first team squad ahead of Valencia, Tuanzebe playing in the first team squad ahead of pretty much all the other centre backs, Gomes in the first team squad instead of Sanchez who should be gotten rid of and Chong in the first team squad full stop.

Young hungry players with something to prove and all the talent in the world to actually prove it, they’ll make mistakes or wrong decisions as all youngsters do (the Class Of ‘92 also did) but they’ll learn and get better for it and playing first team football. In that group if managed right they’d save us hundreds of millions but Jose is NOT the man to do that.
We have this argument every year. Previously it's januzaj morisson, john curtis glen eagles, macheda, tfm, cbj donald love just because lvg gave them a debut many of us put them in their hypothetical lineup.

I dont see any of them becoming world class player. We'd be lucky if one of them becomes a worthy united rotational players like john oshea.
 

the chameleon

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I think there has been some unfortunate manager transitions, Moyes, Van Gaal, Mourinho, injuries


Here's how I would breakdown the youth development in my timespan.

Fergies Fledglings - Exceptional - plus the 4 or 5 batches after them were very decent but struggled to break through just because of how stacked our teams were in the late 90s to mid-00s. Though some did break through Phil Neville, Brown, O'shea and Fletcher.

Then Meulensteen same along with a more technical approach, Welbeck and TC23 were the first to break through. Though they were 12-13 when Meulensteen came along.

Since the born in 93 generation (won't include Pogba here as he was Le Havre), we have seen exceptional and exciting talents that due to mixture of luck injuries just didn't make it. If it wasn't for injuries, Ravel's bad attitude, the pressure to break through in the league these days the group that won the Youth Cup in 2011 would have broken through it had the Keane boys (I used follow England youth back then Will was much better than Harry Kane), Ravel, Tom Thorpe (blame Louis van Gaal) and Pogba. Lingard was in that group but was nowhere near the best player.

I feel like we are seeing some exceptional talents every year in recent years. I attribute that to partly Rene for setting a foundation.

This year we've had Greenwood, Laird, before we had Gomes, Gribbin and the list goes on.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see another exceptional batch come through sooner rather than later.

I think once we get the playing philosophy right in the first team that will also impact the academy and we are more likely to produce better players or players who are more like to to transition better into the first team and go on to become stars.

When we do have good technical players like Pogba, Pereira, Rossi etc we’ve never really allowed them to play in the first team or had the same trust in them like we do physical talents like Fletcher, McTominay. We need to change our mindset in terms of what we prioritise when looking for first team players of the future.
 
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Sky1981

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I'm a realist...I'm happy with that too... but we're in a minority i'm afraid

We've seen the abuse and ridicule decent players and good youth pros the likes of Welbeck, Cleverly, Gibson, Evans, Fletcher and O'Shea have received in recent years.
We have to see it with a different spec. Our academy has been useful for us, providing players like welbeck, cleverly, gibson, evans, fletcher, john oshea and the rest has saved us hundreds of millions along the year. They provide the numbers and quality as well as depth for a proper club. We only have to buy a star player here and there and rely on them for the bench or odd rotation.

But they're not world class, dont get me wrong it's still a wonderful achivement for them but the higher you go the higher the cut off point requirement will be. If we're an everton level of club our academy would have been the best in the world. We could practically field a 60 percent all academy players playing week in week out. Too bad for them we're manchester united that they have to be better than the other 18 clubs player to even have a chance to play for us.
 

Igor Drefljak

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We all love a story of a youth coming through and being world class, it just doesn't / rarely happens anymore.
Kids don't get the playing time they need, and the games they play are against other kids, not the experience they really need.

Prem is the worst for it because the competition is so high, money is so involved and clubs, especially the top tier, can't afford to mess around with kids in their side.
Sancho is an example. Smashing it at Dortmund, but had to leave City for the chance.
As good as Foden is, will he get his chance, maybe, maybe not.

We've won all these youth world cups this year, but it won't relate into an actual world cup unfortunately
 

Sky1981

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I think once we get the playing philosophy right in the first team that will also impact the academy and we are more likely to produce better players or players who are more like to to transition better into the first team and go on to become stars.

When we do have good technical players like Pogba, Pereira, Rossi etc we’ve never really allowed them to play in the first team or had the same trust in them like we do physical talents like Fletcher, McTominay. We need to change our mindset in terms of what we prioritise when looking for first team players of the future.
Sometimes regen is regen, you can only polish something that has potential. La massia and ajax has the been one of the best youth academy with much better structure and phylosophy of football and yet we dont see them churning star players every year.
 

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Who regularly churn out "World class" youth products? Not many teams. And no we arent one of them.
 

Zlatattack

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We have this argument every year. Previously it's januzaj morisson, john curtis glen eagles, macheda, tfm, cbj donald love just because lvg gave them a debut many of us put them in their hypothetical lineup.

I dont see any of them becoming world class player. We'd be lucky if one of them becomes a worthy united rotational players like john oshea.
What makes you say that? The other guy used the term "could", i'm not an expert on our youth academy, nor do I know enough about other young players around the world to make an educated comparison - but I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say "could". How many teenagers do you know who took the top stage of football by storm and looked a sure bet? Rooney, Owen, Mbappe come to mind, i'm sure there's more but it's hardly the norm. I think it's fair to say most players who become top professionals in their teens are in the "could" category.
 

lysglimt

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As much as the class of 92 were brilliant - they were a bit lucky. They came through at the best time for at least 3 different reasons:

1) The quality of the Premier League was at the time.. let's be nice and call it average. At the time you could be a top 3-4 side with 2-3 internationals. Today - most P.L sides have half a team with internationals. So when United got a bunch of youngsters, they were of the same quality or better than the teams around them - even without the experience. Today - you have to find players young matching or at least nearly matching the quality of David Silva, Mo Salah, David de Gea, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard

2) They came through at the time when our team needed refreshing. McClair, Hughes, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister, Cantona etc were all 28-31 years old and realistically players didn't last that long at the highest level 20 + years ago. United needed new players - so there was a room there. If United had slightly better players or players not close to being past their prime - not all those players would have been given the chance.

3) This also happened at the time when Ferguson had won the league and his position at the club was really strong. So he could afford to go into a season with a young side. Of course he believed they were good enough - but he also could afford to take the chance and find out. Firing a manager today is much quicker - so a manager must be almost certain a player is good enough before giving him a chance.

How many managers today could afford the same thing ?
 

Minimalist

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I think getting a genuine 'world class' player (never mind players) from your youth system is a bonus, not an expectation for any club (no matter how much money it has to entice prodigies). There's so much can go wrong during development for a young player (or just a young person in general) you can't bank on them fulfilling their (ultimately unknown) potential.

However I do think there should be an expectation that our youth system produces decent squad players (at least every couple seasons) to fill in alongside the purchases of top players. Lingard, Rashford etc are examples of this. We gave players like McNair and Januzaj a chance to contribute as well.
 

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i think we havent got the luxury to allow talent to develop as like yesteryear. The manager has the pressure of finishing top 4 at least and unless you already have half a dozen very good players and 3-4 WC players, to allow one to develop. Look how many seasons Fletcher played before he became the player he ended up as, because we had the players to carry him . As said we havent got that luxury anymore.
 

ivaldo

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Xavi, Iniesta and Messi didn't graduate at the same time, Xavi was in late 90s, Iniesta in early 00s and Messi in mid 00s.

Also not sure how CO92 is fluke when as per @Mr. MUJAC posted that 50% of our first team players are from our academy since academy was started in 30s or 40s.
You're incorporating a bygone era into those numbers. I imagine other clubs would post similarly high numbers if the 30s and 40s were included. I wonder what the % would be if we looked at it from the start of the premier league.
 

Matt007a

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Producing world class talents is very different to producing very good ones. There might only be a dozen world class players in the game at any one time. So the vast majority of clubs haven't produced one in the last 10 years. The class of 92 were a one off and we shouldn't really expect that to be repeated. It's almost unheard of for a single youth team to churn out 5-6 high class and maybe even 1-2 world class players at the same time. They were a one off.

The ones that we do produce, who are a level below that, are not getting the chance due to the way the game has changed. Money is king and managers are given no time to build. They can't afford to risk playing youngsters with the aim of improving the team years down the line. If you're a teenager in the game currently, you're much better off in the Championship or abroad in a league where you'll be given the chance. If you're good enough then you'll still make it to the big clubs in the end, but when the time is right.
 
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Sky1981

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What makes you say that? The other guy used the term "could", i'm not an expert on our youth academy, nor do I know enough about other young players around the world to make an educated comparison - but I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say "could". How many teenagers do you know who took the top stage of football by storm and looked a sure bet? Rooney, Owen, Mbappe come to mind, i'm sure there's more but it's hardly the norm. I think it's fair to say most players who become top professionals in their teens are in the "could" category.
We cant say we're very good with you with a could have. You either made it or dont
 

jb8521

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I think once we get the playing philosophy right in the first team that will also impact the academy and we are more likely to produce better players or players who are more like to to transition better into the first team and go on to become stars.

When we do have good technical players like Pogba, Pereira, Rossi etc we’ve never really allowed them to play in the first team or had the same trust in them like we do physical talents like Fletcher, McTominay. We need to change our mindset in terms of what we prioritise when looking for first team players of the future.
This isn't really true though. Fletcher wasn't physical when he came through to the first team in fact Pogba was probably more physical at 16 than Fletcher was at 20 & the likes of Januzaj, Rashford, Lingard, Cleverly, Scholes, Beckham & Giggs were far from physical beasts when they made their breakthrough
 

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Remember. It works both ways.
If we really want United to develop and use it's own talent, then we must support those young players when they play in the first team.

The number of posts rubbishing young Marcus Rashford and McTominay demonstrate to me that we say one thing but want instant performances.
 
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Andycoleno9

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Remember. It works both ways.
If we really want United to develop and use it's own talent, then we must support those young players when they play in the first team.

The number of posts rubbishing young Marcus Rashford and McTominay demonstrate to me that we say one thing but want instant performances.
Disagree with that. Being patient is one thing but being objective is another. If player(Mctominay) does not have potential to be United player why not say that. Also this is Rashford's 4th season in first team. Surely there is one moment where you can say; "ok boy, start producing".
 
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As much as the class of 92 were brilliant - they were a bit lucky. They came through at the best time for at least 3 different reasons:

1) The quality of the Premier League was at the time.. let's be nice and call it average. At the time you could be a top 3-4 side with 2-3 internationals. Today - most P.L sides have half a team with internationals. So when United got a bunch of youngsters, they were of the same quality or better than the teams around them - even without the experience. Today - you have to find players young matching or at least nearly matching the quality of David Silva, Mo Salah, David de Gea, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard

2) They came through at the time when our team needed refreshing. McClair, Hughes, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister, Cantona etc were all 28-31 years old and realistically players didn't last that long at the highest level 20 + years ago. United needed new players - so there was a room there. If United had slightly better players or players not close to being past their prime - not all those players would have been given the chance.

3) This also happened at the time when Ferguson had won the league and his position at the club was really strong. So he could afford to go into a season with a young side. Of course he believed they were good enough - but he also could afford to take the chance and find out. Firing a manager today is much quicker - so a manager must be almost certain a player is good enough before giving him a chance.

How many managers today could afford the same thing ?
There is also the most important aspect of all. When those lads came through, they were the last generation of British youngsters that experienced the benefits of freedom of movement in youth football in Britain. Its thus no surprise most of England's last golden generation came through along with them
 

Raees

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This isn't really true though. Fletcher wasn't physical when he came through to the first team in fact Pogba was probably more physical at 16 than Fletcher was at 20 & the likes of Januzaj, Rashford, Lingard, Cleverly, Scholes, Beckham & Giggs were far from physical beasts when they made their breakthrough
Physical in terms of he could get stuck in and had good work rate, typical British traits. It’s why we have quite a lot of workmanlike players get through the ranks and trusted in the first team and the more technical talents we don’t seem to trust as much with first team football.

For me someone like Rossi and Pogba - both should have been squad level bare minimum as youngsters - same as someone like Gerard Pique as the talent was obvious in all three and yet none of them got a proper look in.

I see the same thing now with Rashford (benefitting from being seen as very athletic, English, hard working and a local lad) when someone like Pereira if he had been allowed to have a proper run, could have developed the confidence to make it here and would be a better player. It’s not guaranteed but imagine the same level of hype and game time being afforded to him.
 
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davidmichael

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We have this argument every year. Previously it's januzaj morisson, john curtis glen eagles, macheda, tfm, cbj donald love just because lvg gave them a debut many of us put them in their hypothetical lineup.

I dont see any of them becoming world class player. We'd be lucky if one of them becomes a worthy united rotational players like john oshea.
I didn’t say world class players and said amazing first team players and that they could save us hundreds of millions of players especially when you consider a good squad player these days costs £50 million plus.

If we had O’Connor, Laird, Gomes, Tuanzebe, Chong, Gribbin, Garner and Greenwood even come through as only the same level as the likes of Smalling and Lingard currently are or how Wes Brown, John O’Shea or Darren Fletcher all were which is good squad players then that’s EIGHT squad positions packed out and a HUGE amount of money saved for genuine world class players.

I don’t think in our lifetimes we’ll ever see anything like the Class Of ‘92 again especially in this country as that group were truly special and will almost certainly be remembered as the greatest group of players to come through at the same time in this country of the modern era but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a good group come through at the same time though which this group could if given chance which won’t happen under Jose.
 

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Football is a lot different now then it was in the past. Teams haven’t got the patience to wait for youth players to mature. And unfortunately at the bigger teams, they don’t get the minutes at vital ages to become first team players. I think united have done really well to give Rashford and Lingard the minutes they get in our first team. Of course they’re also exceptional talents. But if you check the history of big teams in the last 5-10 years, you can’t name many youth players who’ve broken in to the first team squads And become a regular feature in the first 11 for bigger teams.

United- Rashford and Lingard. You can’t really count Pogba as he didn’t break in and become a first team player.

Liverpool- taa (only in the past year). Sterling (although he was bought)

Arsenal- bellerin

Chelsea- no one

Manchester City- no one.

Spurs- winks, Kane, Walker?

I do think this is the future of football. It’s already the present and the past 10 years. Youth players will fail at bigger clubs, and you will see youth players only mature at so called smaller clubs, and then bought by bigger clubs for big money once they are more developed. Only the real top calibre youth players will be able to break through at big teams (the messi’s, Ronaldo’s of the world).

The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have been very good at picking up the best European talents of the world, but 99% of them will end up going on loan from one club to another, and eventually sold for decent money, and probably bought back at some point once they’ve reached a more world class level, where they can fit in to the first team squad.