Belfast Telegraph

Giggs: United committed to youth

Ryan Giggs insists Manchester United's commitment to youth development remains strong.

The recent sale of Academy graduate Danny Welbeck and the heavy spending of the summer transfer window have suggested priorities could be changing at Old Trafford.

United have a proud record of having at least one homegrown player in every matchday squad since 1937 - a statistic that could now be under threat following Welbeck's departure.

But Giggs - himself one of United's greatest youth products - denies that is the case.

Giggs, who is now assistant manager under new boss Louis van Gaal, said: "The club will never change. The history of the club is to play exciting football, always give youngsters a chance, keep to the traditions of the club.

"Okay Danny has left, which is obviously disappointing because you never want to see a homegrown player leave, but this is a manager who gave Seedorf his chance, Kluivert his chance, Iniesta his chance, Xavi, Thomas Muller - he has got a track record of giving youngsters a chance.

"Tyler Blackett has played every game this season. Underneath (Robin) Van Persie and (Wayne) Rooney you have got (Adnan) Januzaj, James Wilson.

"Players will leave but we have got to make sure young players come through because United fans demand it. I want to see young players come through.

"That has been (the case) right through the history of Manchester United and we never want to lose that."

United spent more than £150million over the summer in a major squad rebuild following the disappointments of last season, when they finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe.

Among the high-profile new arrivals are British record £59.7m signing Angel di Maria and Monaco star Radamel Falcao, on loan.

Another former youth star, Nicky Butt, who now has a coaching role with the United under-21 side, accepts the club had to play catch-up.

Butt, speaking alongside Giggs at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, said: "I think all clubs are changing.

"I think Man Utd was probably one of the last outstanding ones that had the connection between youth and the first team - to be fair to Liverpool now they are doing that very well - but we are still trying to do that.

"The Danny thing is just something that has come at a certain time in the club's history.

"Danny wasn't playing in the position he wanted to play in, the club now only has so many games, we're not in Europe.

"I think it is a case of being fair to the player and fair to the club, with someone with Danny's ability who has international credentials and wants his England place.

"It is not a case of giving up on youngsters, giving up on the Academy.

"It is a case of getting the club back to where it needs to be. That is the first priority, to get back to winning ways."

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