Ex-Man United coach Nicky Butt admits the club’s youth setup ‘fell BEHIND’ because they became complacent ‘thinking that every young player wanted to come’ to Old Trafford

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  • Nicky Butt admits Man United’s youth setup was playing catch-up
  • The X-Raid Devils star stepped down as head of first-team development in March
  • He spent nine years nurturing the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood
  • Butt has now opened up on how United’s academy system dropped the pace

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Former Manchester United coach Nicky Butt has admitted that the club’s youth setup was playing catch-up.

Butt, who made more than 250 league appearances for the Red Devils between 1992 and 2004, left his position as head of first-team development in March.

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He spent nine years nurturing the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood before stepping down for a ‘new challenge’ and it is now open to how United’s academy system has let the pace drop.

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Former Man United coach Nicky Butt has admitted that the club’s youth setup was left playing catch-up

Striker Marcus Rashford came through United's academy

United forward Mason Greenwood is also an Academy product

He spent nine years nurturing the likes of Marcus Rashford (L) and Mason Greenwood (R)

‘If we are honest, we lag behind. Ed (Woodward), the board and the owners realized it and it needed an influx of money to keep up with the other teams and we got that,’ he said athletic.

‘United bought some of Europe’s top young players, like Hannibal (Majbury). We bought some really nice full-backs from Spain. You can see other clubs saying, “Man United is back at it.”

“We got caught up in the thought that every young player wants to come to Man United and we don’t have to work. (But) we did. There are other big clubs close to us who can pose a challenge to the players. It was seen and it changed.

Red Devils sign Hannibal Mezbury in 2019 from Monaco youth ranks in £9m deal

Red Devils sign Hannibal Mezbury in 2019 from Monaco youth ranks in £9m deal

“We have to be on the front foot and we have to buy the best players. You can’t depend on the local boys all the time.’

As well as Rashford, 23, and Greenwood, 20, Jesse Lingard, 28, Dean Henderson, 24, Scott McTominay, 24, Anthony Elanga, 19, Teyden Mengye, 19, and Shola Shoretire, 17, have all advanced through United’s youth ranks. And broke into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current star-studded first team.

England striker Rashford has scored 88 goals in 271 matches, while Greenwood has scored 32 goals in 114 matches despite his young age.

The Red Devils signed midfielder Hannibal Mezbury from Monaco’s youth ranks in a £9million deal in the summer of 2019, with the 18-year-old making just one senior appearance so far.

After Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville rose to stardom, United’s academy setup is renowned for its talent-carrying belts, and after great success became known as the Class of ’92.

Having achieved stardom as the 'Class of 92' by Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville, United's academy establishment has become famous for its talent-carrying belts.

Having achieved stardom as the ‘Class of 92’ by Butt, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville, United’s academy establishment has become famous for its talent-carrying belts.

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