Manchester United have appointed Nicky Butt as their new head of academy in a bid to revive the club’s youth set-up.
The former United midfielder, who made 387 appearances for the Red Devils, has served as reserve team and under-19 coach for the last four years and will now oversee the whole academy.
Butt was a member of United’s Class of ’92 and is now responsible for ensuring the club’s reputation for developing homegrown talent, which has suffered in recent years, continues.
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The 41-year-old told United’s website: “It’s a privilege to take on this role.
“As someone who learned his trade in the United youth set-up, it’s a huge honour now to be given the chance to lead the academy and to instil its values and attitudes to continue to create future generations of Manchester United players.”
Butt will also be required to ensure United do not lose out to rivals Manchester City in acquiring the best young players available. United’s under-18 side is currently second-bottom in the Premier League Northern Division, 33 points behind City.
He continued: “It’s a big challenge but I am fortunate to be taking over a dedicated, first-class team.
“Our aim remains the same - to keep supplying the first team with well-coached, rounded players that understand the responsibility of playing for the biggest club in the world.”
United’s youth set-up has undergone a major upheaval over the past year. Butt takes on the role vacated by Brian McClair in June 2015, while Paul McGuiness left his position as under-18s coach last week after 24 years at the club.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said on Butt’s appointment: “I am delighted that Nicky has accepted the role of head of academy.
“Nicky has the traditions and heritage of this club in his blood and he is the natural choice to ensure that, in modernising the way the academy operates and shaping the new investment we are making, it retains the values and the focus that it has always had.
“Manchester United’s academy is completely focused on producing young players for our first team. As a graduate of its finest team in the modern era, Nicky will bring passion, energy and experience to drive the academy forward, retaining the characteristics that give us a competitive advantage - namely an unmatched track record of player development together with the runway of first-team action.”
Louis van Gaal has come under heavy criticism during his time as United boss but one positive of the Dutchman’s reign has been the promotion of academy graduates Jesse Lingard and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to first-team regulars.
It is now Butt’s duty to produce the next Class of ’92, the talented academy group including Butt, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham.