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"It is, more and more, an exciting time for me. It's started with Welbeck and Cleverley because, when I came in, they were 10 or 11.. now they've featured in the first team. And just underneath them, there's more."

- Rene Meulensteen

30/11/2011 15:17, Report by Adam Marshall
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Philosophy pays off

Rene Meulensteen feels United are reaping the benefits of developing youngsters from an early age and bringing them through the system.

The first-team coach implemented his philosophy at Carrington, developing the famed Coerver method after working with his fellow countryman Will in the 1990s. Teaching schoolboys good habits allows them the flexibility to play in different positions and the fruits of the hard work are starting to become clear for all to see.

"I worked with Will myself and I was very fortunate to do that," he stated. "That provided the background, the basis of the philosophy which I've taken on board and expanded it so it has become my philosophy, engrained with all the other important aspects.

"I'm just a very strong believer in it because the best players out there in the world - past and present - have given us that information. If you go back in time to George Best, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona up to all of the best players now - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney - they've got the ability to take players on and beat them. It's not only important for the team, it's very exciting for the game itself."

Educating the youngsters is providing a massive benefit for United when they are asked to fulfil various roles later in their career. The in-built confidence in possession and comfort with the ball is vitally important to Meulensteen's programme.

"In the beginning, the kids are young and just respond to the environment you create for them," he explained. "They don't know what is good or bad, they just enjoy it or hate it but they will do it.

"If I had kids climbing the fence up and down all day, they don't know whey they're doing it.

"But, when they get to 18-20, they realise it's no good and they should've worked on their skills.

"When they've gone through that, it has become second nature and that's why skill development is so important in the early age groups because it can become second nature by 16, 17 and 18. If a player

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