Jose Mourinho has dismissed claims suggesting he does not promote youth players at his first press conference as Manchester United manager.
He was finally unveiled as Man United boss on Tuesday morning after being appointed as Louis van Gaal‘s successor last month.
Van Gaal had left a legacy of bringing through a host of young exciting prospects including the incredible rise of England striker Marcus Rashford as well as the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Guillermo Varela.
Speaking in his press conference, Mourinho insists he always makes the decision to promote young players unlike some managers, who are forced into using them due to injuries.
“Do you know how many players I have brought through from the academy? 49. And I did so with two important factors,” he said.
“Sometimes you promote because you don’t have another choice. You have lots of injuries so you have to bring them through.
“The second factor is that when you are not playing for big targets, it’s easier to bring them through. My injury record is very low, so I never promote because of a need. I did it because of conviction and decision.”
Van Gaal gave senior debuts to 14 young players during his tenure at Old Trafford but critics have always suggested this was simply due to an injury crisis on the first-team.
While he deserves praise for including Rashford in the Europa League squad for the FC Midtjylland fixture, it was only an injury to Anthony Martial in the warm-up that gave him the opportunity to show his true potential.
Mourinho was completely ready for questions on his youth development at the press conference and produced a pre-planned document with all 49 academy players he has promoted for journalists to look at. When you see the list, there aren’t that many which went on to have great careers but at United he’s got a wonderful talent pool of youngsters which hopefully means that should change.
I can’t wait to see him in action this season as it’s clear he is ready for the job at Man United and seems to understand the traditions at the club.