Manchester United's academy is legendary but is becoming less effective

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For years, decades even, the Manchester United academy for up and coming youngsters with potential has been famous for producing quality.

This is epitomised by the now infamous photograph of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Terry Cooke all coming through the academy. Terry Cooke was also a talented player, but unfortunate that he played in the same position as Mr. Beckham.

However, having at one time, produced such a great team centred around one year of academy players, their system, or perhaps their judgement of player potential is beginning to work against them.


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In recent years, Manchester United have had several players spend their youth at academy, only to leave for nominal (or presumed nominal where not known) transfer fees. Players such as Giuseppe Rossi, Gerard Piqué and £70 million rated Manchester City target Paul Pogba all, at one time, played for Manchester United.

Others who they may have regretted letting go so early include former Arsenal and England star, David Platt, solid Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross and Aussie goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, who United ended up re-buying later in his career.

The fact that United had such a great youth set up more than twenty years ago will become legendary and not routine if they are not more careful with who they keep on and who they release.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted making a similar mistake with Yaya Touré, having had the Manchester City and Ivory Coast star on trial.

Even Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi was once rejected by his local team River Plate, because they did not want to fund his $900 a month growth hormone medication. Seems a small price to pay for a player who scored 58 goals in 57 games in all competitions last year.

It shows how difficult it can be in the modern day to spot a gem and how both players and clubs have a lot more limited patience to let youngsters develop without playing regularly.

Just looking at the past few years United have become a lot more reliant on spending big money superstars to fix the mess they've been in rather than show faith in a new generation of academy graduates.

It could be the case that generations of Giggs, Scholes and Beckham may not be given the chance to thrive at big clubs in the modern game anymore.

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