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Butt reveals loan plans

Nicky Butt has explained that January will see players in the U23 and U18 squads head out on loan, that both squads will see a rebalancing with departures and promotions, and that the U18 first years will see much more game time as the season closes.

“We see January as a changeover of the guard if you like. A lot more players will be pushing up to the Reserves and the youth team will be made up more regularly of first-year scholars.

“They will be starting more regularly in the youth team and players will be going out on loan. But, yeah, we plan – we don’t just pick it out of the air. We make plans for a year, 18 months or two years for players and we believe it’s the right way to do things.

"It’s not right to keep players behind to play in the Under-19s in March to win things. It isn’t right. We’d like to win the UEFA Youth League but it’ll be more beneficial for our players to go out on loan and maybe become men and stand on their own two feet, in order to come back to the club as better players and better people."

What does this mean?

For the U23s, there are several obvious candidates for loan spells. Promotions from the U18s should include James Garner (MF), Dylan Levitt (CM), Ethan Laird (RB), Arnau Puigmal (RB, RW), and probably two of Largie Ramazani, D'Mani Mellor and Mason Greenwood (all FW), amongst others.

This means space should be made in what is currently a pretty well-balanced U23 squad at RB, in CM and up top. I'd guess we might see one of Tyrell Warren and Lee O'Connor, Callum Whelan, and one or both of Burkart and Dearnley go out.

Apparently Barca and Monaco are sniffing around Josh Bohui, who is yet to sign a new contract (current one is up in the summer), so I'd imagine he'll stay close to home for now. Otherwise, he'd be an obvious one to go out for development.

Outside bets

If Solskjaer doesn't have any of Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Scott McTominay in his immediate plans, any of the three could go out until June, although I'd expect the club would think at this stage of the season their development would be best served with time around the senior squad. Gomes and McTominay I suspect might go out on loan next season, subject to summer transfer business.

Under-performing Ro-Shaun Williams may benefit from six months at a League One or Championship club.

Already heading out

Ethan Hamilton - Scottish midfield dynamo Hamilton has already agreed to join League One Rochdale on loan for the rest of the season. Hamilton had appeared in all of United's PL2 fixtures this season and should compete for playing time in a small Rochdale squad currently struggling in League One.

Players already out on loan

Tim Fosu-Mensah (Fulham) - May have his loan contract terminated if Fulham need to make room to bring in Gary Cahill. Likely that he'd head back out on loan with United having plenty of cover at right back.

Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa) - Barring injury or illness Tuanzebe will stay at Villa until the end of the season. Performing as excellently as expected for the Championship club.

Kieran O'Hara (Macclesfield Town) - Remains first choice keeper at League Two Maccs.

Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) - Remains first choice keeper at the Blades, currently pushing for a Championship play-off spot.

CBJ (Scunthorpe United) - After a disastrous spell having been frozen out at Leeds last season, CBJ is getting plenty of game time and earning plaudits starting at left back. He should stay at League One Scunthorpe until the end of the season.

Demetri Mitchell (Hearts) - Also playing every week and performing well up and down the left flank at Hearts. Will stay there until the end of the season.

James Wilson (Aberdeen) - Three goals in twelve games for the striker who will stay at Aberdeen until June, when his United contract is up.

Players recalled

Joel Pereira (Vitoria De Setubal) - Played in ten fixtures before falling out of favour at Vitoria and being recalled this week. Likely joining Championship strugglers Reading on loan for the rest of the season.

Matty Willock (St Mirren) - Gangly midfielder Willock has returned from St Mirren halfway through his loan spell and will surely move on in the summer.

posted on 11/1/19

It says a lot about his quality and potential that he’s made it this far in England. Especially given he was playing in higher age groups for most of it.

It’s also quite revealing as to the changing attitudes towards skilful players in this country and the way we are coaching them now. As shown by our recent successes at youth level.

posted on 11/1/19

rosso

I agree with that. I think many fans have a tendency to overrate the level of academy players before they’ve even made a mark at senior level. You see it with Chelsea fans as well, who are desperate for a youth player to make it at the club.

Very few academy players, even if they’ve got great potential, are good enough to make it as these clubs. And in the main are not as good as the established international footballers they are trying to usurp.

That’s what makes it so difficult to blood them into the first team at the top clubs, where results are a primary objective. Though Chelsea are terrible at giving them chances.

posted on 11/1/19

comment by Ed The King Woodward (U10026)
posted 40 seconds ago
rosso

I agree with that. I think many fans have a tendency to overrate the level of academy players before they’ve even made a mark at senior level. You see it with Chelsea fans as well, who are desperate for a youth player to make it at the club.

Very few academy players, even if they’ve got great potential, are good enough to make it as these clubs. And in the main are not as good as the established international footballers they are trying to usurp.

That’s what makes it so difficult to blood them into the first team at the top clubs, where results are a primary objective. Though Chelsea are terrible at giving them chances.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's an incredibly difficult thing to do, and something we should have real pride in at United. To maintain the standards the club has whilst bringing through and integrating so many into the first team squad.

And not only that, but providing the platform for the careers of so many other successful professionals, players and coaches alike.

posted on 11/1/19

rosso, yep definitely. There’s been times where we perhaps could have done more, in terms of opportunities, but in the main we’ve done as well as any top club in the world. I mean look at Barca, the golden standard, they don’t even give many chances to their players anymore and haven’t had a player break into the first team on a regular basis for a long time.

posted on 11/1/19

Well articulated Ed. I'm not Jose's biggest or second biggest Uber-fan, but don't buy in to some of the lazy criticism he gets on here. In particular, the José doesn't ever play youth/academy players one always seemed quite an odd stick to beat him with.

Almost no mega club regularly bloods youth/academy players. No Chelsea manager in 15 years has done so, so hardly José's failing when it is clearly a club directive.

City, with their lauded academy and Pep, are now losing multiple youth who are going for big money or are playing great at their next clubs. They've only had ONE player that gets anywhere near the starting 11 and that's not with any regularity in comparison to how many Jose kept playing for United.

I'm not trying to say Jose was good at introducing youth at all, just that almost no big club do so in a "class of 92" fashion these days.

posted on 11/1/19

Hmm the criticism of Mourinho in this regard may have been over the top at United, but it’s a fair criticism of his management over his career. He doesn’t have much trust in younger players, he wants and needs established footballers. Most do, to be fair. But that shouldn’t detract from the point.

posted on 11/1/19

To be fair to City, they've set their stall out.

They can, and will, bring through top talent. But they're clear that they're doing it to help them balance the books, not create a "homegrown hero" legacy.

And they've delivered against and cashed in on the plan successfully in the last five seasons or so.

I wonder if in time knowing that there's no path through to the first team will put some of their potential youth signings off though.

posted on 11/1/19

Probably not because they’ve got amazing facilities, education, coaches and pay the youth players a lot of money. That will always be attractive to young players, even if there’s not a path way to the first team. Sane thing has happened at Chelsea.

posted on 11/1/19

Thanks Rosso for the excellent article (which also prompted a great discussion).

posted on 12/1/19

comment by Dave NotSo (U11711)
posted 15 hours, 57 minutes ago
Superb article, Rosso.
I really appreciate the thought and effort you put into them. I've just had an epiphany as to why these articles don't get the comment count they deserve - you don't leave much to discuss or add.


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Cheers Dave.

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