Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has suggested that the team need to find a spine to allow the club’s younger players to flourish.
10 of United’s 25-strong first-team squad are under the age of 24, and Neville believes that buying players that can support the younger members of the squad will be key to the team’s success as they continue to develop.
Neville recalled his teammates at the club while he made his own way through to the first team as an example as to how the club should deploy a similar strategy in getting the most out of the squad’s young talent in the future.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Neville insisted the club must emulate successful teams of the past and present by investing in a spine to help carry the youngsters to glory in the years to come.
He said (via Manchester Evening News): “Bruce, Pallister, Schmeichel, Keane, Cole, Cantona. The spine of that team is immense. The problem with Manchester United’s team now is not the five young players on the pitch or the three on the bench, the spine of the team is Lindelof, Matic, Mata, Young, De Gea.
“Manchester United, somehow, have got to find a spine.
“Liverpool’s spine, [Manchester] City’s spine, they’re strong. All championship-winning teams have a strong spine. So my thing at the moment is how do Manchester United recruit, in the next 12 to 18 months, a spine to support those young players.”
Neville lays out United’s problem – the members of their so-called ‘spine’ are not even getting in the team. Barring goalkeeper David De Gea, only Victor Lindelof has started every Premier League game.
However, the fact that all five of them started as United returned to winning ways against Leicester City may add weight to the notion that the younger players require their elders to produce results – having gone three league games without a win.
While we may not see whether a plan to develop that spine is in place until the next few transfer windows have elapsed, Neville may yet have a point given United’s on-pitch struggles of late.
Manchester United fans – who would you bring in to form a solid spine? Which youngsters can you see being part of it in the future? Get involved by entering the discussion below!
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