Giving the youth a chance is a policy that is deeply ingrained into Manchester United’s DNA.
It’s a factor that feeds into a much larger philosophy at the football club and one that managers have to abide by, when they step out onto the touchline at Old Trafford.
The youth set-up at Carrington is one of the most prestigious across Europe, producing the iconic Class of 92, all the way up to modern-day talents like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. One man who deserves credit for such success behind the scenes is Jim Ryan.
Sir Alex Ferguson appointed the former Red Devils’ forward as the club’s youth team manager back in 1991, overseeing the development of some United’s most famous academy products. By 2001, Ryan had progressed into the role as the director of youth football, a position he also held for another decade.
In a nutshell, the former coach has been an integral factor behind some of the star names to emerge from United’s ranks. Speaking in an interview with the club’s official site though, he pinpointed one name that stood tall above the rest:
“I think probably Paul Scholes. Scholesy is really tough and physical but it’s his skill that gets him most of the rewards. It’s the nice touch on the ball or it’s that he receives a pass nice or he makes the pass nice or he hammers it in from whatever distances. He’s a talent. That’s what I call talent.”
The Englishman featured 718 times for United and is widely-regarded in being one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. With eleven league titles to his name, Scholes’ reputation is certainly justified, and Ryan’s comments will not surprise many fans.
Despite some strange and far-fetched cries that the midfielder was actually ‘overrated’, those involved with the game and those who had interactions with the player himself, continue to sing his praises. As a figure that oversaw hundreds of young talents, we are sure to be able to trust Ryan’s judgement on this one.
Seven years on from retiring, Scholes’ name will continue to be sung around Old Trafford’s corners for decades to come.