Saturday 17 February 2018

Nicky Butt set to be handed key role at Manchester United

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt is set to be named as the club's new academy coach, according to a report in the Guardian.

United have been widely expected to revamp their youth team set-up, with the departure of under-18s’ coach Paul McGuinness from his post last week evidence of a change of direction at Old Trafford.

Now Butt is tipped to assume the key role of reviving the United set-up from grass roots levels, with club officials suggesting changes are needed to revive the system that saw so many star names emerge as first team heroes during the 1990s.

Butt was part of a United FA Youth Cup winning team that featured the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham, but those glory days are now a fading memory.

United's owners believe an improved academy structure can benefit all areas of the club from the youth teams to the senior side, as the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward confirmed last week.

"The academy continues to be the heart of the club," stated Woodward during United's second quarterly investors' call.

"Our key competitive advantages are still very strong. Those are an unmatched track record of player development compared to any other team, in particular in England.

"Secondly, the runway we deliver of first-team opportunities to those players coming through is very different to some of our competitors."

"Giving youth a chance is part of our philosophy, part of our DNA. We took the departure of Brian McClair last summer as an opportunity to do a root and branch review of the academy, that's now complete and changes are underway. Announcements will follow in the coming days."

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