With Manchester United’s big spending nature so far this summer, there is a natural cause for concern that in the short term, there is less emphasis on developing young talent through the club’s system with the intention of getting back to the top.
That means that there is a growing chance that the proud record of the club having featured a player developed through its academy in every match day squad since the War has a real risk of ending this season. Adnan Januzaj counts as a home grown player but may still be sent on loan – James Wilson, at the moment, actually looks like the likeliest bet to keep that tradition going but only because the club have a severe lack of firepower up front.
However with the flurry of transfer activity and number of senior players already departed, Louis van Gaal is sure to add a senior striker to the squad, and Wilson himself may find a loan option presented.
Therefore, the Red Devils may easily find themselves with at least one game without a youth player in the squad. And Lee Lawrence, who won the FA Youth Cup with United in 2003, feels it would be a disappointed if that was to be the case.
‘I would definitely be disappointed if United don’t field a a youth player this season,’ he admits. ‘It’s no secret that our youth set up is one of the best around and it would be a very sad time if the clubs traditions change.’
Lawrence says he felt it was inevitable after the changes in management that some big changes would be made in order to maintain success but maintains hope that long term, the club will remain true to the tradition started by Sir Matt Busby.
‘I was slightly worried about this when Sir Alex left and I hope I’m proven wrong,’ Lawrence exclusively tells RetroUnited.com. ‘I’ve not seen much of the youth at United but I’m sure with the traditions and coaches employed that surely we can still produce some great talents in the game – hopefully some good local lads will get a chance.’