In the course of the 2019/20 season, Manchester United head of first-team growth Nicky Butt is confident first-team possibilities will come for the youth of the club.
Four representatives of the Academy produced their mark on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side during Tour 2019 — James Garner, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood — but former Reds player and United head of first-team growth, Butt thinks there’s more to the scheme that also pushes for a chance at the senior level further down the line.
Solskjaer and his coaching team are strong advocates of the youth already within the club and the boss has already hinted he will look to inject some fresh blood into his squads in the Europa League group stage.
”It’s amazing for the players to go on pre-season and the experience they get from that alone is invaluable really,” Butt told MUTV recently.
”When you go away, you see it. You know how big the club is but you never know until you go on tour as that’s when you realise what a big club it is worldwide.
”You get in part of a bubble here and are immune to that fact when you’re involved with United, whether it’s as a coach or a player. You’re in a cocoon, a bubble and it feels like a nice, little working-class small club, if you like.
”It’s only when you go out there you actually realise it is the biggest club in the world with a lot of fans there. You’re representing a lot of people when you play football and people genuinely want to hear from you. They speak to you and listen to what you’ve got to say about football.
”It’s a chance for all the players to impress the manager. There’s a chance every time you play or even train with the team, every day is a chance to get into the first-team squad, whether or not it’s an EFL Trophy or Europa League game, a friendly in pre-season or just training. ”Hopefully, it will be at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
”That’s a chance to go and impress and you have got to take that chance. You’re not going to go in there and cement a place straight away. But you can put a little seed in the mind about yourself and what sort of character you are and the kind of player you can become. ”All the players there and it’s not only the four who went away, there are others who have all got a chance because the thing about Ole, Kieran [McKenna], Michael [Carrick] and Mike [Phelan] is they know the players. Certainly, Kieran was coaching them so they know all our players and it helps.”
Solskjaer handed senior debuts to Chong, Garner and Greenwood last season and, with many challenges on the horizon at home and abroad, there will be others looking to follow in their footsteps. Butt has stepped into his new role after previously being the club’s Head of Academy.