United youngsters proud of 4,000-game record
Manchester United's youngsters are proud of the record being marked in Sunday's Premier League match against Everton at Old Trafford.
The clash with the Toffees is the 4,000th successive senior game to have featured a homegrown player in the United matchday squad, a run that started back in 1937, against Fulham.
It is something the current crop of Academy stars are aware of and they appreciate being at a club that can celebrate such an achievement.
"If you look at other clubs, sometimes you don’t see an Academy player on the bench or even in the squad at all," said Mason Greenwood. "At United, you always know before you look at the teamsheet, there is always going to be an Academy graduate already in the squad so it’s great.
"Four thousand is a lot, going back 80 years probably, and it’s great for the club knowing Manchester United does believe in the Academy and the process does work."
Full-back Brandon Williams echoed those thoughts, saying: "It’s an unbelievable moment – to have a youth player in 4,000 games is an achievement that is unique to the club and it just shows what the club is about. They believe in youth here and it works."
Marcus Rashford believes one of the secrets behind the statistic is the excellent coaching within the system.
"The coaches are very good and they’re almost doing maybe 12 years of developing an individual," he explained. "And, in those years, they can mould you into what they know a Man United player is. The coaching staff are very important. And I just can’t see it slowing down, us breeding players."
The roll-call of famous names on the list since 1937 says everything about the history and tradition of the Reds, with the Busby Babes and Class of 92 featuring prominently.
“You see players like Becks [David Beckham], Nicky Butt, Scholesy [Paul Scholes],” commented Andreas Pereira. “You see all the ones who have come through and you know that young players will be given an opportunity if they’re good enough.”
Tahith Chong admits United are synonymous with youth development and that came across as soon as he joined the club from Feyenoord.
“I think, when you’re at United, that’s the thing that you really think about – boys coming through the Academy and playing for the first team," he said. "That is really what United is all about.”
The Dutch winger's fellow countryman, Tim Fosu-Mensah, feels it is a message that stretches across the world and encourages youth talent to head to Manchester.
“For me, I had options when I was 16 to go to different clubs, other than United," he recalled. "Obviously, United have a good understanding of the youth Academy to bring players to the first team.
"From when I came here, for me to become a first-team player, and not only me but a lot of other players who came through the Academy, says a lot about the club. It’s wonderful. For young players to see this – Marcus, Axel [Tuanzebe], Andreas, Scott [McTominay]– a lot of names, I think it definitely benefits the club and encourages more people to join United.”
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.