Manchester United great Nicky Butt has opened up on what happened to the club’s academy in recent years, after deciding to leave the club fairly recently.
The former midfielder was the club’s head of first-team development but opted to depart, with many speculating there was a breakdown in the relationship.
However, Butt has denied this, insisting he left on good terms and decided to do so because he couldn’t see where he would progress next in his career.
After all, he’d reached the top of his respective field and had been harbouring feelings of wanting to enter management.
Nonetheless, he’s decided to clear the air and give fans an insight into why the academy fell behind others in Europe.
According to The Athletic, Butt said: “We did fall behind, if we’re honest. Ed, the board and the owners did realise it and that it needed an influx of money to keep up with the other teams and we got that.
“United bought some of the top young players in Europe, like Hannibal (Mejbri). We bought some very good full-backs from Spain. You could see other clubs saying, ‘Man United are back on it.’
“We got stuck into thinking that every young player wanted to come to Man United and that we didn’t need to work. (But) We did.
“There are other big clubs close to us who could also challenge for players. It got noticed and it changed.
“We have to stay on the front foot and we have to keep buying the best players. You can’t rely on local lads all the time.”
Manchester United’s academy prospects had started to dry up before the shakeup and now there’s a clear strategy as well as a pathway into the first team.
There’s a reason why fans are excited by the new generation of talents coming through, starting with none other than Mason Greenwood.
Anthony Elanga has already been a part of the first team as well, while supporters hope to see the likes of Hannibal Mejbri in action soon.