Giggs says Man United will never change
Danny Welbeck leaving the club for Arsenal was a disappointment for management
A Match Story graphic showing Goals plus assists per England appearance since 2012/2012. With his ninth and 10th international goals coming in the past week, hot on the heels of a high-profile deadline day move to Arsenal, Danny Welbeck is a man in the spotlight.Photograph: PA Wire
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.
“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.”
However, former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville admits he cannot understand why the club sold Welbeck for £16million to Premier League rivals Arsenal.
After 15 years at Old Trafford, Welbeck joined the Gunners on transfer deadline day after falling behind Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and new arrival Radamel Falcao in the United striker pecking order.
The 23-year-old striker scored both goals in England’s 2-0 win against Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Basle on Monday and Three Lions coach Neville has questioned the logic in letting him go to a rival for a relatively small transfer fee.
“I can’t work it out,” Neville, who played 602 times for the Red Devils, told TalkSport.
“After all the prices I’ve seen paid this summer, and obviously I’ve been working with him the last week, I’m thinking how is it just £16million? “There’s been right-backs and left-backs galore who have been bought for £15million this summer. How have they got him for £16million?
“I can’t work it out to this day, it’s a strange one. It really does feel strange that it’s a centre-forward and actually it’s helped out a competitor, someone who will be vying for those third and fourth places with United this season.
“I’m struggling to understand the logic behind the deal in two or three ways really.” Welbeck admitted after Monday’s match that he was relishing the chance of playing in a central role more regularly — having often played out wide during his United career — and is confident in his ability to find the back of the net.
“It is well known I prefer to play through the middle so when I get my opportunity I just want to show what I can do,” he said.
“Once I get into the box and get the opportunities I have got faith in my ability. “Listen, anyone can say what they want to say but I just know once I get the opportunity and a run of games up front I will do my best.”