Jose Mourinho has admitted he doesn’t want to see Manchester United’s remarkable record of academy graduates be broken during his tenure at Old Trafford.
For 80 years since October 30th, 1937, Man United have had a homegrown player in every matchday squad. It’s a phenomenal record, and when Mourinho was asked about it, he was sure to state his intentions to keep it going.
The Portuguese has given debuts to a number of young players at United.
“I don’t want to be the one that breaks that and I think the next United manager – it doesn’t matter when he comes – should also try not to break it,” Mourinho commented to the Mirror.
“It is more difficult now than it was before, but I think it is good. I feel it like a way to keep a certain identity of the club. To keep that identity means, basically, we should bring a new player from the academy every season.
“You can bring someone to play 10 minutes, then the player disappears and then you can say, ‘Oh, 40 players have their debut with me’. But none of them are important. When I say ‘bring’, I mean (for them) to stay.”
It’s the correct attitude from Mourinho, and he also spoke of his plans for midfielder Scott McTominay, at the club, a player who Mourinho has appeared to take a liking to this season with a number of appearances and mentions of his name.
Though it meant nothing, United’s final Premier League game of last season saw Mourinho include 13 academy graduates in a single matchday squad, with one of them, Josh Harrop, scoring on his debut before leaving the club in the summer.
Mourinho has given a huge amount of gametime to Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard and given chances to McTominay, but also defender Axel Tuanzebe. Goalkeeper Joel Pereira is also gaining vital experience under David de Gea and Sergio Romero while being giving chances sporadically, too.
So far, so good for Mourinho. However, Tuanzebe could do with more gametime, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah needed more last season before joining Crystal Palace on a season-long loan this year.
If Mourinho is going to bring through an academy graduate into the first team as a regular every year, he’ll be doing more than enough to keep United’s identity of promoting youth strong.