Football

Nicky Butt Reminds Youngsters of Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard

Nicky Butt Reminds Youngsters of Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard

Nicky Butt feels youngsters need to remember how good Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard were.

The Manchester United Head of Academy is well placed to give his opinion on young players trying to make it at the top level of the game.

He’s overseen Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay’s emergence in the first team over recent years and no doubt has his eye on others who can make the breakthrough to Jose Mourinho’s team.

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But the former United midfielder is also aware that players are finding it difficult to make it – and he believes Under 23 football has an impact on that.

Butt praised Paul Pogba for leaving United back in 2012 for first team football with Juventus, highlighting that more players should do that if they aren’t getting game time.

He also spoke interestingly about who young players aspire to be, saying that they all want to be Lionel Messi, but have to remember how good Keane and Gerrard were as box-to-box midfielders.

Speaking to Simon Stone of bbc.co.uk, Butt said: “If you ask them, they will all want to be Messi.

“People should not forget how good Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard were, these box-to-box players that aren’t the traditional modern academy. That is what we have to get out of.”

It’s an interesting point – and shows that there is a lack of a certain type of players in academies now.

That may explain why McTominay has managed to break into Mourinho’s team. He is a box-to-box midfielder and represents a change from the norm that emerges from United’s academy.

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