Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jose Mourinho & Youth Policy – Manchester United Boss Questioned as Talents Exit Club

Mourinho’s youth policy under new scrutiny at Old Trafford / Image via Squawka.com

Jose Mourinho almost threw a tantrum during his first-ever Manchester United press conference when he responded to critics labelling him as deadly for youth prospects and talented youngsters.

The Portuguese manager presented the numbers to defend himself, but his latest moves at the club simply offer no backing to his self-proclaimed stance on youth development with talented defender Cameron Borthwick-Johnson already at Leeds United on a one-year loan and Timothy Fosu-Mensah on the verge of Crystal Palace loan spell.

Two Talents Depart

Jose Mourinho’s moves in the summer transfer market offered no indication that Manchester United boss would be counting on two of club’s brightest prospects Borthwick-Johnson and Fosu-Mensah in the long run.

Having a talented defender and versatile defensive midfielder within his own ranks did not prevent Jose Mourinho from buying Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic, thus effectively closing the first-team doors to his young players.

The lads who enjoyed some playing time over the past two seasons got completely shut down and forced to go on loan in order to continue their development. Borthwick-Jackson endured a frustrating loan spell with Wolves last season and will be hoping his time at Leeds will be more productive, whereas Fosu-Mensah is likely to be given a Premier League run with Crystal Palace.

The first glance from an inexperienced eye would judge Jose Mourinho’s decision to risk it with new signings instead of home-grown players which have been the club’s philosophy United got recognized and renowned for during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

There could be some reasoning behind Jose Mourinho’s actions, however, in this extremely demanding and competitive football time when United are pressured to win the Premier League they stand at 7/2 betting odds to grab next year.

Does Jose Mourinho have a plan for his talented stars?

If we’re going to draw any conclusions from the case of Marcus Rashford, it will be only upon the two aforementioned players themselves to earn their place back in the team.

Borthwick-Johnson and Fosu-Mensah’s departure does indeed send all the wrong signals but the two players will ultimately benefit immensely from their loan spells.

There has been a hot debate in England whether these loan moves are Mourinho’s way to get rid of unwanted players, or if it is only a part of a certain grand scheme the Portuguese is preparing in order to reinstall Sir Alex’s philosophy at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho has reportedly prepared a three-stage plan for Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the first place as one of the most talented players in Manchester United’s academy.

Fosu-Mensah in the Focus

Having introduced the player to the first-team dynamics last season, Jose Mourinho is believed to have enabled Fosu-Mensah to build a foundation as he got a chance to get familiar with the dressing room and environment.

The step two after involving the player in regular first-team activities is dispatching him on loan where he would gain valuable first-team experience at a stable top-flight side – Crystal Palace in this case – where the player himself is expected to grab the opportunity and prove his worth when he would not have been given a chance to do the same at Old Trafford.

The third and the final stage for Fosu-Mensah is to have him ready to step in Antonio Valencia’s shoes next year as a natural replacement for the player who is going to be 33 next term.

What we have in front of us is an elaborate plan which Manchester United fans hope is true. It would not only allow a talented player to potentially develop into a first-team star, but also solidify Jose Mourinho’s position in the fans’ hearts.

The Portuguese only have those growing reports and links with Serge Aurier working against him as Mourinho appears keener to add a dressing room liability than give the same chance to one of the pearls from his own jewellery box.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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