Would United’s Proud Youth Record Suffer Under Mourinho?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 1, 2016
You’d have to have been living under a rock to have managed to avoid the speculation linking Jose Mourinho to the Old Trafford hot seat from next Summer onwards. The way a lot of the media and fans and possibly even Mourinho himself are speaking it seems that this deal is nailed on. While this potential appointment has been greeted with joy from Man United fans, the only real problem Mourinho brings to United is the possibility that he could go against Manchester United’s incredibly proud youth tradition…
..But is Mourinho’s record of playing younger players actually that bad? The scrutiny of Mourinho’s record of bringing through youth players from the academy has only really been raised during his previous tenure at Chelsea. But you now have to look at the selection of academy players Chelsea offered him. Has any of them gone on to make a name for themselves elsewhere? No. Mourinho is a winner and he hasn’t played these players for the simple reason that they weren’t good enough to establish themselves in a title winning squad. It is obvious that Mourinho has very high, intricate standards and he will not tarnish his excellent winning record for the sake of a few fans moaning about no academy players.
Mourinho does actually have a decent record with younger players that he’s brought into his previous clubs. In his first stint at Chelsea, he brought in Arjen Robben (20), Petr Cech (22), Michael Essien (22), Shaun Wright-Phillips (23), John Obi Mikel (20) and Salomon Kalou (20). These aren’t his only young signings however, these are the ones who he gave lots of minutes to. He isn’t against youth. he’s against the lack of quality. At Inter Milan, he promoted a 16-year-old Mario Balotelli to first team affairs, he also gave Davide Santon his debut at the tender age of 17.
At Real Madrid, he signed and regularly played Mesut Ozil (21), Angel Di Maria (22), Sami Khedira (23), Fabio Coentrao(23) and most notably played and trusted Raphael Varane at the age of 18. He also brought Kurt Zouma in at Chelsea and played him regularly over the last 18 months of his reign. The fact that he is open to playing young players at the heart of the defence, one of the most important areas of the pitch shows that he has no qualms over trusting youth once the quality and discipline is also there.
It’s possible that Louis Van Gaal’s persistence on youth at the moment is greatly going to aid Jose Mourinho in the future as his previous record has proven that with Jose Mourinho if you’re old enough and have the correct attitude and discipline then you’re good enough.