Manchester United fans haven’t had too much to cheer about in recent years.
Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford following their triumphant 2012/13 season, the Red Devils have won just a solitary FA Cup and haven’t finished higher than fourth in the league table.
But it’s not all doom and gloom around the club.
That’s according to Gary Neville who believes that the club are staying true to their principles by allowing youth players to make the grade at the Theatre of Dreams.
Neville was, of course, part of the famous Class of ’92 which saw the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham progress through the academy and into the first-team.
And the former right-back has admitted that he feels proud the club are still allowing players such as Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford a chance to develop, despite spending £150 million this summer.
Speaking at the Oxford Union, Neville said: “When I see Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard on the pitch, it makes me feel proud that Manchester United is true to itself and its principles.
“United floundering was always going to happen after Ferguson. The control over the club and the aura he has about him left a void.
"As a product of the Class of ’92, personally I would focus on the work ethic and robust character of youth players at academies.
“The fundamentals of the United style of play – developing youth, wing play etc. – should never change. It’s part of our identity.”
Louis van Gaal may have received plenty of criticism after his two seasons at the club, but he ensured plenty of youngsters were given an opportunity during his spell.
Tyler Blackett, Andreas Pereira, Reece James, Saidy Janko, Tim Thorpe, Paddy McNair, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Guillermo Varela, Regan Poole, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Weir, as well as Lingard and Rashford were all handed their United debuts by Van Gaal over the past two seasons.
While Mourinho broke the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba, and also brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, it seems there is still scope for talented youngsters to progress at the club.
It’s something that Neville - and no doubt many United supporters hope continues for years to come.
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