Manchester United head of youth Nicky Butt has defended the club’s academy in the wake of accusations they can no longer keep up with local rivals Manchester City’s facilities.
City have invested heavily in their youth facilities in recent years, building the impressive Etihad Campus, which sees senior and youth teams train just yards away from the Etihad Stadium.
Butt says the clubs’ efforts remain on a par though, pointing at the emergence of youngsters like Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah as proof their academy is still delivering.
“No, the United academy is not in a mess,” Butt said.
“I judge academies on players who are coming through and we are getting even more coming through. At the club it is something we are all very proud of and something we feel is a massive part of the club and the history of it.
“A lot of players have come through at the minute through necessity really. For one or two it’s a bit too soon for them, but they have done brilliant when asked to perform and performed well. You can’t ask much more than that.
“People say it is a mess from the outside because we fell behind City because of their training complex. Yes, they have a fantastic training complex, you can’t get away from that, but ours isn’t too shabby is it… It’s not the arse-end of the world really. It is a great place.
“We are putting things in place that maybe in another year or season, we are quite confident that we will be up there with the best in the world.”
Butt was appointed as United’s new head of academy back in February.
The 41-year-old is a graduate of the club’s academy himself, having come through the ranks as a part of the famous Class of ’92.