Manchester United’s head of academy Nicky Butt insists the club will always promote homegrown prospects despite their wealth as they have formed the core of their most successful sides.
“I think the club won’t allow for [there to be] no homegrown players,” he said. “The club’s always had a history for breaking transfer records and getting the best players around the world but they’ve also been known for developing their own players that help the superstars bed in and teach them about the club, the area and the history, and I think it’s important to have that.
“The teams that have been successful over the years, right back to the Busby Babes, have always had people that have known the club and grown up with the club in their blood.”
Part of Nicky Butt’s role now is to persuade parents that United is the best destination for their offspring to develop and Butt believes that, even though they may not be aware of it yet, Rashford and Lingard have a huge influence as bastions of the system’s success.
“For us to be able to look at the kids and say, ‘Marcus and Jesse were here from eight, nine’, that’s massively important for me when I go and speak to parents,” Butt added.
“I can look them in the eye and say, ‘It can happen because they’re doing it now’.
“They don’t know it but they’ve got a massive thing on their shoulders – they’ve got to deal with the first team, the press, the social media, the manager, international things, but there’s this little thing on the back of their shoulders that I don’t think they realise yet that they’ve got to carry the club and keep the tradition going. That’s massive.”
Of the 10 homegrown players Mourinho gave appearances to last season, six – Joel Pereira, Demetri Mitchell, Josh Harrop, Scott McTominay, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Angel Gomes – played fewer than 100 minutes.
Asked what advice he would give to those hoping to become first-team regulars, Butt replied: “They have to go back to square one again, go back to training hard, working hard.
“Forget about that – that’s happened, it was great. Parents loved it, I [the player] loved it, I had a couple of weeks on a high of playing for Man United’s first team. Realistically, I’m not at that level yet and I need to work harder to get there and stay there.
“It’s alright playing one or two games, it’s staying there for five, six, seven, eight years, then you really are a player.”