Nicky Butt optimistic about future of Manchester United’s academy

by Leo Nieboer

Head of Manchester United’s academy and former midfielder Nicky Butt believes that the club will continue to produce top players over the next few years.

Butt joined the academy set-up in 2012 and spent a stint as Under 23s coach last season following the departure of Warren Joyce.

A number of academy graduates made their senior debts last season and the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Andreas Pereira Scott McTominay, Demetri Mitchell and Joel Pereira have impressed during pre-season.

And Butt, speaking to the club’s official website, believes the conveyor belt will continue to thrive over the next few years.

“I think it’s massive to develop mentally,” he said. “Wherever it is, you’ve got to have the right mental attitude towards work and towards other people.

“You’ve got to be a good person, and I believe that, even though a few inevitably slip through the net as in any other walk of life, we produce good people here. Hopefully they work in football but, if not, they go on to do other things successfully.

“It’s drilled into you from an early age. It’s all well and good being a United player, but you need to be a winner. Ultimately, if you’re not winning things here, you won’t last long, and that’s a fact. The manager will look to someone else who can win.

“This club has built its foundations on winning, we’ve always won things and been successful. We’ve had dry spells, like any club, but we always get back to winning. If you’re not a winner, if you’re not brought up with that winning mentality, you’re going to struggle in the first team.”

“People like Marcus, Jesse and Paul, people who know the system, they have to carry the club now. As well as Michael Carrick, who knows the place inside out. These young players who come in for a lot of money might not know the club or the environment or the area, so it’s up to those guys to incorporate them into United and instill those beliefs.

“They need to be introducing them to Kath on reception [at the Aon Training Complex], letting them know how long she’s been here at the club. They have to know about how many players she’s seen come through those doors down the years and decades.

“They need to recognise the laundry people, the canteen ladies, the chefs, the groundstaff and security lads – they’re part of our family and you need to say ‘good morning’ to them every single day.

“When you come to United, the players are the superstars and the ones everyone wants an autograph from but, when you come into this building, we’re all equal. We all have a role and, without one, we don’t have a team. Without the kit guys or the bus drivers, without the security guards and canteen staff, there wouldn’t be a football club.

“It’s important for the players to let the new lads know what Manchester United is all about.”

Football will continue to lose its soul to the capitalist machine that feeds it at an exponential rate as we pass through time, but you can be sure that, concurrently, United will never ignore their long-standing and indeed famous commitment to giving youth a chance.

The most important aspect of Butt’s set-up is the pride they take in producing not just good footballers but concrete people. They are there to supplement development in various branches of life and that is why, even to this day, the retains a powerful reputation of producing players that go on to enjoy successful careers.

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