This week has been no different with the press jumping on a couple of quotes from Mario (which incidentally aren't anything new), then going on about Tevez having 4 extra days and missing the Community Shield (like he was going to feature after 2 days training anyway), and now we have that fountain of knowledge and wisdom that is Eric Cantona mouthing off about City's apparent lack of youth development.
Yes you heard that right, City's lack of attention to youth development. My reaction was probably somewhat similar to your own. There is no way on this planet that the views of this man will not be seen through massive red tinted glasses so they will be absolutely perfect for the build up to such a 'meaningless' derby on Sunday.
One of the very best parts of this tripe is that Cantona actually admits "I don't know how City work." Well if that's the case 'king' Eric, then keep your trap shut!
He then goes on to say that City are only interested in spending to build a team instead of developing youth and then states City "will not be as strong as United who are bringing through young talent."Oh give me a break, United have had one good crop of players come through or joined their youth ranks in the last 20 years. Giggs, Scholes, the Neville brothers, Beckham, and Butt. Who have United brought through their ranks since then? Anyone of real note? Ermmm...
Wes Brown? Averaged 19 games per season in all competitions for United. Hardly a first team regular, and now at 31 he's moved to Sunderland.
John O'Shea? Averaged 25 games per season in all competitions for United. I little better but again, considering united have been playing between 50-60 games a season for god knows how long it's not exactly that impressive.
There have been others who have made appearances in United's first team of course, but how many have actually made any sort of impact and become a first team regular?
You honestly can't expect me to count the £27m purchase of Wayne Rooney at the age of 18 as developing youth, or even the purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.5m, again at 18 years old. Although both developed as players at United, they're were hardly products of any sort of youth system there.
What about their current squad? How am I going to judge this fairly? Well how about using UEFA's own home grown rule? Would that be a fair way to judge whether someone has been developed as a youth? I think it would, after all the player needed to be under 18 when joining the club so would be considered home grown after his 3rd season with them before turning 21. This is how the FA and UEFA are judging youth development. Have United developed any players that fall into this bracket playing for them now?
Nani? No, they bought nancy boy when he was 20.
Anderson? No, they bought him the same year as Nani at 19.
What about Fabio and Raphael? They were brought to the club at 18 too.
Obertan? No, the peanut was 20 when he joined United.
Chris Smalling? Well he is considered home grown, but United bought him for £10m from Fulham at 20 years old so he's not been developed by them.
Hernandez? Certainly not. He may look as though his parent's still get a babysitter to look after him but mushy pea is 23 years old and only joined them last season.
Not looking that good for this fantastic youth policy United are meant to have according to Cantona is it? But ok, here are some that can be considered in that home grown by United bracket
Danny Wellbeck is one, he was on loan at Sunderland last season, it is yet to be seen whether he breaks into the 1st team at United.
Tom Cleverly is home grown, but like Wellbeck has not yet broke into the 1st team and spent last season out on loan at Wigan.
Darren Gibson falls into the category of home grown and developed by United. He is also featuring for 1st team, however he is already 23 and is usually a bench warmer at best.
Frederico Macheda can also be included amongst them and at 19, he still has a chance make an impact in the first team, but the jury is out for now.
In fact the only player that is home grown that United have developed themselves since the initial crop in the early 90s that is playing for them regularly and is in the 2011-12 squad is Scottish international and Sloth (the Goonies) lookalike, Darren Fletcher. If I am wrong in that, please, please correct me.
And as Sloth would say, "Heeyyy youuu guuuysss!" How on earth is that in anyway anything to be proud of? The idea of United consistently bringing top youth players through their own ranks is a complete myth, they've brought in one crop of 6 players in the last 20 years, and had a further 3 players in that time who have had any sort of impact in the squad.
Since the birth of City's Academy in 1998 it has produced around 40 players who have debuted in the first team. Admittedly not all have made a big impact but to say City don't develop youth is ludicrous.
I wont name all the debutants, but I'll go through a few that have played a number of games for the Club since 1998;
|Shaun Wright-Phillips and Micah Richards at the FA Cup parade.|
Other notable players still playing in the premiership are;
Dickson Etuhu (Fulham)
Glenn Whelan (Stoke)
Tyrone Mears (Bolton)
Daniel Stirridge (Chelsea)
|Alex Henshall on England duty in the U17 World Cup|
City also currently have 7 English players featuring at international level between U16-U20 squads.
|Denis Suarez on City's American tour|
Alex Henshall (17)
Karim Rekik (16)
Juan Roman (16)
Albert Rusnak (17)
Denis Suarez (17)
Hardly ageing stars are they? And I assume the news about City's planned 80 acre training complex that will be able to provide world class facilities for around 400 academy players hasn't reached Eric either? No, thought not, otherwise he wouldn't come out with verbal excrement.
So, Eric, would you like to rethink your statement about City not thinking about their youth?