Jose Mourinho's history of player development is not important

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Jose Mourinho had ready answers for the questions he predicted the media would throw at him during his first news conference as Manchester United manager on Monday.

In true job interview style, Mourinho brought along 'evidence' in the form of a list of 49 young players he claims to have developed throughout his managerial career, in response to the allegations that he is not interested in youth development.

This list was to be handed to press following the conference, but in a bizarre twist of events, a glass of water was knocked on it meaning that it was not made available as planned.


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However, The Times journalist Oliver Kay managed to get hold of a copy, one that looked suspiciously dry. Whether this was a clever ploy by 'The Special One' or a complete accident, the eventual publication of said list has allowed closer scrutiny into the truth of these claims.

In today's Telegraph, James Ducker claims that the list "does not stand up to much scrutiny."

"Of the 49 players...almost half of them – 23 – made just one appearance under Mourinho with another 10 playing only two games for the Portuguese" he wrote.

So is Jose Mourinho really the youth champion he claims he is? Or is he protesting too much because he knows it is one of the core values of Manchester United?

Whether you believe Mourinho, his watery 'fact sheet', or the actual statistics of his career, the only real way of seeing whether he develops young players is by watching events unfold.

It seems obvious to say only time will tell, but this is Mourinho's first run out at a club where youth has the most prolific history in the world of football. The class of '92 speaks for itself.

This means that Mourinho will have to look to the academies if he wants to placate the millions-strong fan base. He must feed in youth as well as spend obscene amounts of money on superstars. He must find the balance between money and roots, between Manchester-born lads and world wonderkids.

Louis van Gaal's silver lining was the introduction of young players into the first team; the breakout names of Marcus Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, James Weir and Timothy Fosu-Mensah gave United fans a glimmer of hope in an otherwise disastrous season.

Arguably, the Dutchman had no other choice than to award players their debuts thanks to his extensive injury list.

With players regaining fitness and new names being introduced into the dressing room, it seems unlikely that Mourinho will suffer the same problems. This means he will not have to rely on the academy for substitutions, and therefore whether he invests faith in youth will be completely of his own choosing.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

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