LONDON (AFP) – Ryan Giggs re-assured Manchester United fans on Wednesday that the club’s commitment to youth development remains intact.
New United manager Louis van Gaal’s recent spending-spree of more than 150 million-pound in the transfer window, culminating in the British record capture of Angel di Maria for 59.7 million-pound (US$98 million), was followed by the sale of Academy graduate Danny Welbeck, the England forward, to Arsenal suggested a change of priorities.
United have fielded at least one homegrown player in every matchday squad since 1937 but that record may be threatened under Dutch boss van Gaal. However, Giggs, one of the greatest players ever to emerge from a United youth system that became famous under then-manager Matt Busby in the 1950s before being revived by Alex Ferguson, the boss who oversaw the celebrated Wales star’s career in the 1980s and 1990s, said the commitment to homegrown talent was woven into the fabric of Old Trafford.
“The club will never change,” Giggs, now assistant to van Gaal, told the Soccerex conference in Manchester on Wednesday.
“The history of the club is to play exciting football, always give youngsters a chance, keep to the traditions of the club,” he added.
“Okay Danny has left, which is obviously disappointing because you never want to see a homegrown player leave, but this is a manager (van Gaal) who gave (Clarence) Seedorf his chance, (Patrick) Kluivert his chance, (Andres) Iniesta his chance, Xavi, Thomas Muller – he has got a track record of giving youngsters a chance.”