United will never abandon their youth policy says Giggs

Ryan Giggs said they were proud of the youth system that “separates United from other clubs.”

FILE: They are without European football for the first time in two decades, and have yet to win a game this season. Picture: Facebook.com

MANCHESTER England - Manchester United may have sold homegrown Danny Welbeck and spent over 150 million pounds on imports but they will never abandon their policy of giving youngsters a chance, Ryan Giggs said on Wednesday.

Assistant manager Giggs, who joined as a 14-year-old, made his debut aged 17 and retired as a player last season at 40 after nearly 1,000 matches, said they were proud of the youth system that "separates United from other clubs."

Speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention alongside two other members of the famous 'Class of 92' - Nicky Butt and Phil Neville - Giggs told a packed auditorium: "The club will never change."

United are going through a period of transition following the retirement of manager Alex Ferguson last year, the short-lived tenure of replacement David Moyes and the arrival of Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal before the current campaign.

They are without European football for the first time in two decades, and have yet to win a game this season.

However, Giggs said they would not change the philosophy that began in the 1950s with the Busby Babes, the young side produced by manager Matt Busby which won two league titles before being decimated in the 1958 Munich air crash.

"The history of the club has been to play exciting football and give youngsters a chance, and that won't change," said Giggs.

"Ok, Danny has left (for Arsenal), which is obviously disappointing because you never want to see a homegrown player leave but we have got a manager now, Louis Van Gaal, who gave Clarence Seedorf his chance, Patrick Kluivert his chance, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Thomas Mueller their chance when they were young.

"He has a track record of giving youngsters a chance. Tyler Blackett has played every game this season, then you've got (Adnan) Januzai, James Wilson coming through so players will always leave but we have to make sure youngsters come through because United fans demand it.

"I want to see young players do what I did. That has always been the way through Manchester United's history and we don't want to lose that.

"I think the easy bit is getting into the first team, the hard bit is staying there for a long time. We are proud of our youth system and we feel that's what separates us from a lot of other clubs."


Giggs, Butt, Phil Neville and his brother Gary, David Beckham and Paul Scholes, the young stars of the famous Class of 92, all went on to have long careers at United.

But Butt, who later played for Newcastle United and is now back at Old Trafford as a coach, does not believe there will be another comparable "Class of 92" in the foreseeable future.

"There should be and there could be, but I doubt it will happen in today's society and the way football is.

"A lot of foreign investors who are buying clubs want immediate success and are spending millions on getting superstar managers in and if there is not success in six months, or two or three years, they are sacked.

"If I was a manager in a top job and my boss is telling me you've got six months to make an impact and get us back to winning ways, unfortunately I will play the players to get us that success.

"Until the owners speak to the managers and tell them it's a journey they are on together and it could take seven, eight or nine years - and you are not going to get sacked - I don't think you are going to see six, or five or even three young players coming through in the same age group as we did."