Manchester United development chief Nicky Butt has urged fans to remain patient with the club’s young talent as they attempt to establish themselves during a rocky period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
United are 14th in the Premier League table after a miserable start to the season, although Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Champions League holders Liverpool hinted at a change in fortunes.
One positive from the opening months of the season has been opportunities for academy graduates.
Brandon Williams recently made his debut and James Garner has been around the squad, while fellow teenagers Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood have played a number of times.
Greenwood last week signed improved and extended terms with United having netted in two of his three starts this season but Butt has pleaded for fans to remain patient.
“They’re very exciting players,” Butt, United’s head of first team development, told the PA news agency.
“We’re all excited about these young boys and there’s probably another four or five in the background that are slowly going to come up behind them.
“Hopefully more behind that and more behind that, but they’re only babies and young at the minute.”
The former United and England midfielder said it was difficult to bring a lot of young players into a team that was not firing on all cylinders.
Butt, 44, was part of the “Class of 92” group of home-grown youngsters, along with David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, who went on to help United enjoy a remarkable period of success under Alex Ferguson.
“We were just good players, we were playing with world-class players who were superstars, who were men, who were leaders, who were winning trophies, winning leagues, getting to FA Cup finals every single year.”
He warned against expecting too much, too soon, from young players.
“I genuinely do believe that we have some really, really top talent but my concern would be putting too much weight on their shoulders at this moment in time, which might have to happen because of injuries or suspensions or whatever goes on in the squad dynamic,” he said.
Butt said his former team-mate Solskjaer was approachable and “knows the club inside out”.
“He’s coached in the academy, he did his coaching badges with academy players, with academy coaches, so he knows pretty much everybody right down to the Under-12s in the club,” he said.
“And that can only be beneficial. We’re very, very lucky to have someone like Ole in charge. It makes our job certainly a lot easier.”
© Agence France-Presse