Manchester United have included a graduate from our academy in every matchday squad since October 1937. Ryan Giggs has talked about how special it is that United always show such faith in youth, and how our traditions set us apart from any other club.
I think it’s special because you know we’re a club that gives youth a chance and that again goes back to Sir Matt’s days. The fans demand it, they want to see players come through the system, one of their own, and they give you a little bit of leeway in that respect. If you have a misplaced pass or you miss a chance they’re a lot more forgiving because you’re one of them. Just like them you’re a supporter. So it is very special when a young player comes through and establishes themselves in the first team.
I think it will always be part of the club’s philosophy. It’s part of the history, it’s what sets us apart from other teams. Yes we can bring world-class players in from around the world but we want one of our own to be performing on that Old Trafford pitch, whether it’s a centre-forward, a winger, a defender… we need players to come through the ranks. That’s a massive part of the United history.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.