Youth Won’t Get A Chance At United Claims Owen

“Do City and United want to push their best players that they have nurtured and think the world of, out on loan to lower league sides to get holes kicked out of them? No.”

Michael Owen in the Manchester Evening News. Known for his complete lack of personality and talent for pointing out the obvious whilst commentating for BT Sport, Owens media career seems to, here, have taken another turn downwards.

Talking as part of the panel at “England: The Big Debate” at Soccerex, Owen – a former Academy product at Liverpool – made his audacious claim.

“Top youngsters only get a chance in the smaller teams, not the best teams. And We don’t get any kids coming through because of that.

“The only way you can make it now is if you go on loan, unless you are a total freak of nature.”


Which must make Owen a freak of nature then, but he said it not me. This is a vast generalisation United, above all, should be exempt from. The evidence is there to be seen, it shouldn’t need to be pointed out to him. Mike Phelan is also guilty of such a shameless and unfounded bashing of the youth system at United. We will take into account 2 recent pieces of evidence before reliving one or two (obviously I am playing things down a bit there) little snippets of history that disprove Owen and his nonsensical blabbings.

Against Burnley, eight academy graduates were in the squad. Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and David De Gea have all been at the club since their teen years and bought up through into regular starters in the first team. Then there is our squad for the season. 12 homegrown players were included. But no Michael, youth won’t be used at all will it? Doesn’t get a chance at the big clubs.

Then let’s look historically. The Class of ’92 are the standout example. Ryan Giggs has just retired after over 20 seasons in the first team. Paul Scholes played for well into the teens, Gary Neville too. The ‘Class’ were also bought in the replace the megastars United had sold that summer. I should probably stop at the one before I sound too much like a Liverpool fan, but we all know there are more. Let’s jump back to the modern-day. Danny Welbeck had seasons in the first team, chance after chance in fact. James Wilson has been kept in preference to Welbeck (technically an established first teamer, but youth doesn’t get a look in over them in the gospel according to Owen) and Tyler Blackett has started the lions share of preseason and EVERY Premier League game so far.

Oh, and then there is Adnan Januzaj. A star turn for United and one of the best players for us last season. Though he may not have started every game, he’s come on in all four (including the Capital One Cup). David de Gea – though not a youth product – has become our number one at the age of 21, he went through tough times at the beginning but was stuck by when replacements could have been sought. That’s giving youth a chance.

He does have a point about City, they are only interested in the mercenary type. Their youth academy is genuinely fantastic, they have some handy players in the Under 21’s, but they aren’t going to get a chance. Adam Johnson told young players not to bother because it’ll destroy their career, Jack Rodwell ignored that to his peril. But for Michael Owen to turn round and say it doesn’t get a chance at United is insulting.

He played with youth players coming through the system when he was here. Maybe its bitterness that he only really scored one goal of note for us and some of those players stayed ahead of him. Maybe it’s because he’s a Liverpool fan. Either way, he’s completely wrong, it doesn’t need much summing up.


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