Despite the remarkable transfer business Manchester United have carried out this summer and the superb start to the season we have witnessed with United picking up three wins out three, in all competitions, some Reds are still not pleased with the man in charge, Jose Mourinho. There is a belief among the footballing world that the Portuguese manager does not give youth a chance, even though he attempted to set the record straight in his first press conference as the Manchester United manager. Bringing through players from the academy is something United as a club thrives off, after having plenty of success with it over the years, on a personal note, I too share the belief there is no better sight than seeing a local lad or someone from the academy succeeding in a Manchester United jersey.
Even with the strong start to the new Premier League campaign and obvious improvements in terms of playing style and personnel, some United supporters have been giving the 53-year-old manager a fair bit of stick over the past few days, following the news that James Wilson and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will be spending a season out on loan in the Championship at Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers, respectively. The ‘Mourinho does not give youth a chance’ card has been branded about on Social Media by many United supporters and rival fans, but the loaning of the two talented youngsters should not be used as an example of that.
The general feeling is that the one the Reds supporters are most unhappy about is Borthwick-Jackson joining Wolves for the season, despite the young Englishman playing 14 times for the first team last season and the club not having an ‘out and out’ left-back as the backup to Luke Shaw. However, the fact of the matter is, United have plenty of cover for the left-back position in reality, with Ashley Young, Marcus Rojo, and Daley Blind all having appearances under their belt on the left-hand side, regardless of your opinion on the three. Borthwick-Jackson is only 19-years-old and is at that stage of his career where the most important thing for him is to get playing time under his belt at a fairly high level, which the Championship is, in my opinion. Would he have played week in week out at a Premier League club like he presumably will at Wolves? I am not fully convinced, hence why he has joined the Championship in England where staff at United will be able to monitor him closely. The youngster himself believes that he will make it at Old Trafford with him touching on the fact Jose Mourinho has told him that he is in his plans, which is backed up by the fact he signed a new contract at the very start of the Mourinho era. Shaw is a young player himself, he will have the energy to play more often than most, barring he picks up another injury – but Borthwick-Jackson needs experience, he needs to develop, he would not do that sitting and waiting for Shaw to be side-lined or playing the odd midweek or cup game here and there when United’s number 23 is rested.
James Wilson has also left the club this week, joining Championship side Derby County on a season-long loan. This will be Wilson’s second loan spell away from the club, as he spent the last campaign on loan to Derby’s fellow championship rivals Brighton and Hove Albion – where he scored five goals and assisted twice in 25 league games. Again, similarly to the Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, to label this as an example of Mourinho not giving youth a chance is pathetic, in my opinion. To go into the season with James Wilson and Marcus Rashford as our strikers would have been too risky, so Mourinho brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, unfortunately for Wilson, Rashford had a superb season when he managed to break into the first team in the second half of the last campaign – so Wilson would have been sitting around waiting for either Ibrahimovic or Rashford to get injured to get any chance of some playing time, at a stage of his career where he needs to play to develop. If either of the pair does get any injuries, United will not be in trouble with Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial also having experience in the number nine position. If Wilson has a flying season for the Rams this campaign I have no doubt that he will come back and be part of the first team set up, like the man himself Jose Mourinho has said in the past – any players not in his plans will be sold, not loaned. Which is what we have witnessed with the young pair that has recently joined Sunderland, Donald Love, and Paddy McNair.
Ultimately, people are more than entitled to have their opinion on Jose Mourinho, nobody is saying the man is perfect. But those people who are using Wilson and Borthwick-Jackson, the two youngsters that have simply gone out on loan in order to further their experience and development as a way to slate Mourinho for not giving youth a chance could not be any more wrong, in my opinion, as neither are an example of it. Furthermore, the fact of the matter is at any club, if a player is good enough they will play and be given a chance, regardless of their age.