Gary Neville feels Manchester United’s signing of Sadiq El Fitouri from Salford City is a positive one and that clubs should be doing more to keep young talent in the game.
The 20-year-old, previously part of Manchester City’s academy, was bought by United on the recommendation of Paul Scholes and Phil Neville after they watched him play for Salford.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Neville said: “I’d never seen the boy play but Phil Neville and Paul Scholes had been down. The boy had been playing in the park for the previous six months and not really doing much since leaving Manchester City.
“He came down to Salford; Phil and Paul liked him straight away and said the kid has got too much talent to be disappearing out of the game. It says a lot about what happens to these players when they get released as big clubs don’t want to take a chance on them.
“Many of them disappear out of the game when they do have the talent. It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time, is the pathway there for when kids get dropped by the bigger clubs to get picked up by Bury, Oldham etc? It doesn’t seem to be happening.”
Right-back El Fitouri will face competition for game time in the U21s with Saidy Janko already in the squad. Guillermo Varela could also return from a loan spell at Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Although it might not have been the defensive signing that United fans might have hoped for at the start of January, it is encouraging to see the club continue to bring in youth, especially from the local areas.
The class of ’99 and others have proven that a good youth policy can bring rewards so to bring in a promising youngster is never a bad thing.