David Moyes admitted that he hopes to continue Manchester United’s longstanding tradition of promoting academy players through to the senior team.
Manchester United have had at least one youth graduate in their match day squad for over 3,600 consecutive games – a phenomenal record that stretches all the way back to 1937.
And the 50-year-old has no plans on stopping the tradition when takes over in July. Speaking to Cambridge University Union yesterday, Moyes said:
“Manchester United have always relied hugely on young players and my priority will always be to promote these talents. It is the right way to go.
“We need to be producing better English players and we are working to find the solutions. My aim would be to develop these young English players and get more and more coming through.”
“There’s not a favourite Ferguson memory. The memories that stick out are ones from when I was younger and 13, 14, playing for Salford boys. I would look over to the sideline and there is the manager of Manchester United. That is amazing for a 13-year-old and the relationship has just built.” Ryan Giggs
It is music to my ears that Moyes is going to follow in the footsteps of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson before him in continuing to promote youth.
From the class of ’92 through to Evans, Cleverley and Welbeck, United have always had a spine of homegrown heroes in their squad.
There are some very special youngsters currently in the academy. Powell and Januzaj were highlighted by Ferguson as the top talents but with the likes of the Keane brothers, Lingard, and Vermijl , there are plenty of others waiting in the wings to get their own opportunity.
And the U18s have the likes of Pearson, Daehli and Wilson who are all making great strides in their progression through the ranks.
But Moyes admits that he feels that the English game needs to change to make it easier for youngsters to be able to progress earlier in their careers.
“There are issues to resolve: How do we get them more games at a competitive level?,” he continued.
“I like the Spanish model where there is a ‘B’ team playing in the lower divisions. Could we implement the same here? That would be a starting point.
“Three years ago, I wanted to get the young Everton team into the conference, as it would be a good place to compete. The FA told us we would have to start from the bottom – in division 27 or something!”
United having already given the likes of Powell his first team debut this year and with Januzaj earning himself a squad number for the remainder of the season, there is a new crop ready to burst into the senior squad.
Even in his final farewell speech atop the parade bus, Ferguson reminded fans that the U21s are playing “that mob from across the road” tonight. Always looking ahead, always caring – even to the last minute.
And with Moyes seemingly in the same mind-set as the departing Ferguson, our tradition of nurturing talents from within looks set to continue and long may it.