|Desc||A Class of ‘92 member alongside Beckham and Neville, Butt was an instrumental figure in the centre of United’s midfield for 12 years before he moved on to Newcastle and then Birmingham. He is now the head of coaching at United’s youth academy and assisted Giggs as interim manager of the club alongside Paul Scholes following David Moyes’ dismissal in 2014.|
|Org||English National Team|
|Club as Player||Manchester United|
|Salford City||Gary Neville, along with his brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes is a co-owner of Salford City|
2019 03 14 Retrieve
[Butt has added on being reunited with some familiar faces] We’re all really looking forward to coming back together again and playing this match for the Foundation, which is a really good cause. Hopefully we’ll bring back some really good memories and everyone will really enjoy it
2019 07 04 Retrieve
[Quinton Fortune has returned to Manchester United as part of a coaching re-structure of the club’s Under-23 side. The restructure also sees Head of Academy Nicky Butt undertake increased involvement in the team’s overall programme] Myself, Neil Wood and Quinton Fortune have long-standing connections with Manchester United and bring a wealth of experience to our roles that we will pass on to the young players. It is such an exciting time for the Academy with Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) as first-team manager, who truly believes in the development of home-grown talent. It was a source of pride that three Academy graduates made their first-team debut last season. As a group, we will now look to build on this success
2019 07 22 Retrieve
[Nicky Butt has been appointed as Manchester United’s new head of first team development] Manchester United is in my DNA and this is a very proud moment for me as I take on this new role. I am passionate about nurturing, developing and coaching the talent we have here to become top players at this club. Under Ole’s leadership, our vision will ensure that we continue to provide the right environment for our young players to thrive in
2019 10 22 Retrieve
[Nicky Butt says Manchester United have another four or five exciting youngsters following in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong] We’re all excited about these young boys and there’s probably another four or five in the background that are slowly going to come up behind them. Hopefully more behind that and more behind that, but they’re only babies and young at the minute. But, for me, it’s difficult to bring in a lot of players into a team that’s not firing on all cylinders, if you like
You have to be careful when you put these players in because if they get too much expectation on their shoulders at an early age, a few bad games can see them fall by the wayside. We know ourselves as adults. When you get rejection as a young teenager, whether it be football, girl doesn’t fancy you or something happens at college, you fail your driving licence, it’s like the end of the world.
So, can you imagine playing in front of 76,000, having a bad game and getting beat 4-0 and you’re reading the paper – because they all read papers and obviously now it’s social media – and you get a bit of stick on there? It can kill them. I genuinely do believe that we have some really, really top talent but my concern would be putting too much weight on their shoulders at this moment in time, which might have to happen because of injuries or suspensions or whatever goes on in the squad dynamic
[Asked if they have a big role to play in the nurturing of the next generation] Yeah, they can. They can play a big role by going on the pitch and performing. But at this club, you have to perform week in, week out, every single week, in front of 76,000, twice a week. It’s very, very difficult and the message we want to give as an academy and as a club is, yeah, Mason Greenwood, if you want to use his name, he looks like an unbelievable, talented boy, which he is. But the word ‘boy’ is what he is, and we have to just, as a fanbase and supporters, be patient with these boys
2019 11 15 Retrieve
[Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira have been set the challenge by Nicky Butt of adding add more goals to their game as senior stars at Manchester United] Scott has now become established, even though he’s still a very young player. He’s doing really well. Axel Tuanzebe has come in and done really well when he’s had his chances. Andreas is playing consistently and there’s still more to come from him. You’ve got Angel Gomes, Chongy [Tahith Chong], Mason Greenwood – the lads who are dipping their toes in. Mason’s got a goal or two, so it has been a good time for the lads going in
There are certain levels. Scott’s now trying to develop his game into the player he was in the younger teams, when he scored goals, got into the box and dominated. He has embedded himself into the squad now and he’s become one of the first names on the team sheet. He’s done that bit, which is hard: settling in, not making too many mistakes, keeping it simple. Now the next step is getting back to being a box-to-box midfielder, getting goals, stopping goals at the other end.
Andreas will now want to be playing like we all know he can – scoring goals, creating goals – and you’ve got the other ones who will be trying to get as many minutes as they can in the first team. Mason, Angel, Chongy, Brandon [Williams] … they’ve got to try to influence the manager’s thinking that they can do it week in, week out, because, at the moment, they’re dipping their toes in with a few games. Andreas and Scott are cementing their place and will need to kick on.
Axel’s different because he’s in-between both of them. He’s got to cement down his position, take his chances with both hands and not give the manager a chance to drop him. Jimmy Garner is a good player. He’s very mature for his age, so he can handle all the hype and all that comes with playing in the first team. He’s scored some good goals in the Under-23s and the EFL Trophy, so he’s developing that bit. He’s just got to be patient because he’s a very good player who will hopefully have a long career at Manchester United. There’s no rush with him. He’s still growing, still got to build himself up in the gym and naturally grow. All in all, we’re happy with the Academy players coming through to the first team.
2019 12 04 Retrieve
[Academy boss Nicky Butt on Brandon Williams] He’s all energy and high tempo. A local lad, a heart on his sleeve type of character. As he came through the ranks he wasn’t one considered to be the next superstar, but he has come through because of his character and determination. It will be a long journey for him. It’s a bonus that he’s from around here [as is Butt], though I’m not a massive believer that being a Manchester lad makes all the difference. David Beckham, from London, was the biggest Man United fan you could ever meet
2019 12 04b Retrieve
[on Ethan Laird] Ethan Laird is a powerful athlete who has had a lot of injuries in recent years. He needs to get over them and get a good 10, 15 or 20 games under his belt. He’s a very attacking full-back who needs to learn more about the defensive side of his job which is normal for a young lad. When Ethan is on his game he’s pretty much impossible to stop going forward.
2019 12 04c Retrieve
[Another rising defender is Di’Shon Bernard, 19, who is having a second chance at United after being released by Chelsea] Physically, he was skinny and tall and looked like he needed a lot of work. He’s quiet, but a great lad who’s coming out of his shell. The youth coaches have done really good work with him.
Di’Shon is calm, too. Defenders at Man United can’t be emotional. D’Shon passes well, reads the game well and rarely goes to ground. The only thing he needs to learn is when you have a bit of a down, a bad game, you have got to recover quickly. It was a big learning curve for him in Astana after giving the ball away, but there was nothing that he could be blamed for, it was a freak goal
2019 12 04d Retrieve
[Dylan Levitt has already made his mark at international level with the Wales squad with coach and United legend Ryan Giggs praising the 19-year-old. And Butt knows why] He is one of the best passers that I’ve seen, one of the best passers in the club including the first team. He can do things with a ball that not a lot can. He’s got to get better at projecting himself, being confident and knowing what a good player he is. When he plays in the reserves or youth, his ability to dictate the game is usually enough. Yet when he goes into the men’s game you need to do a little bit more. He has to get competent at that to compete in the Premier League. If he can do that then he’ll become one hell of a player
2019 12 04e Retrieve
[One of the first to be promoted to the first team environment was Jimmy Garner, 18. Butt puts this down to ‘his mentality, his ability and his maturity’] He’s a box-to-box player, a real Man United midfielder. He can tackle, run, pass, score and head the ball. He just needs to grow, get more powerful. He’s not ready to be playing week in week out yet – none of them are – but he’s going in the right direction and he’s a real leader
2019 12 04f Retrieve
[Great things have been predicted for Angel Gomes, 19] He’s someone who has always made the coaches smile. He’s a genius with the ball at his feet and he can do things that others can’t – he can score and create. For Angel to get into the first team, he has to become the best at his niche position. To be that kind of player in the Premier League you have to be a David Silva or as good as Iniesta was at Barcelona.
2019 12 04g Retrieve
[Among the youngest is striker Mason Greenwood, 18, who is earmarked for greatness if he can fulfil his potential] Mason Greenwood is only 18 and we shouldn’t forget that. He can do anything; he can score and win games which is what a Man United striker has to do, but he has to get the other side of the game which is important in professional football.
Mason is the kind of player who will do nothing for the whole game and then score you two goals. He could be a superstar if he works with the coaches around him to make himself better – or he could be a miss if he doesn’t
2019 12 21 Retrieve
[Nicky Butt has been compared Mason Greenwood to Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs] It’s always someone’s turn to carry the baton for the academy for a few months or years. It was Jesse a few years ago, then it was Marcus and now it’s Mason. Hopefully it’ll be someone else pretty soon. I think it’s your duty to do that when you get your chance
It happened back in our day with Ryan Giggs first and then us lot, then it was Wes Brown, Darren Fletcher’s turn and so on. Now it’s Mason’s and the good thing about it is there’s so many around him. He’s not on his own. You might get the attention for a few months when you’re carrying the baton, but someone will come in and take the baton off you and it’s their turn
[Butt, who has stepped out of a role in United’s academy to become their head of first-team development] It gives you hope [as a young player]. Because no matter how good these young players are - like we had Ryan and Mason’s had Marcus - you know there’s a chance for you. If one person’s done it from the academy, everyone else can do it. That’s all you can ask for as a young person in any life. Hope to get a chance, whether that’s in the working environment or in football, if you believe there’s a chance for you, you’ll work your socks off from dawn till dusk
2019 12 21b Retrieve
[Nicky Butt says Scott McTominay has become the first name on the teamsheet at Manchester United] Scott is probably the first name on the teamsheet at the minute and Brandon has done really well. It’s a mixture that makes Man United players. It’s not just always about raw talent, there’s a lot more than that. There’s been many players who have come through the gates at the training ground and been better than most people, but haven’t made it. It takes more than that to make it through to the first team. Talent gets you through the gates, but determination, grit and drive keeps you here for many many years. That’s what we’ve got to do with our academy players, because without the will and the drive to do well, you’re not going to make it here
There is always a path at Man United, if you’re good enough you’ll get your chances. If you train hard enough and you do well in your [youth] teams you’ll get a chance. There will be loads of boys who have been playing with Mason and Brandon over the years and they’ll be looking at them thinking ‘well if they can do it, why can’t I?’. You just have to keep going and that’s what we want. We want to show the youngsters that there is a way to get through [to the first team] but you’ve got to earn it
2020 02 27 Retrieve
[Man Utd optimistic on Angel Gomes contract despite dispute] I’ve still got massive hopes for him. He’s got a contract dispute at the minute which all players have, and I don’t get involved in that. That’s what he does with his agent and the club. That’s personal. The boy trains every day and works hard and his talent is unbelievable. His work ethic, the way he approaches training every day, and the way he approaches games whether he’s playing for the reserve-team, the Under-19s, the first-team, is spot-on and he’s a very talented boy
He’s different to players like Scott [McTominay], because they are powerful and they can go and compete at that level. Angel is different. He has to get the right niche at the right time. If it all comes together then we’ve got one hell of a player on our hands
[Butt admits that he expected Adnan Januzaj to be a superstar after breaking through at Old Trafford] Not many come back and bite you on the backside. They don’t all go on to be superstars and make great careers, but at 17, 18 or 19 you tend to get the right idea.
I felt Adnan should have been a world superstar. I remember speaking to Steve Bruce in the players’ lounge before a game when Ryan [Giggs] took over [against Hull] and I was his assistant. I said, ‘Adnan is as good as him,’ and pointed at Ryan. He said ‘no chance’. After the game Brucey said he was top, top drawer. That was a disappointment. He’s gone on to have a career, so it’s hard to say. But I think he could have been a superstar if he’d had the mentality of Ryan
2020 03 26 Retrieve
[While Hannibal Mejbri’s future is no doubt bright, the club are doing their best to keep the teenager grounded] It’s hard to get him under the radar when we’ve chased him for so long and he’s come from a big club for a big fee, so that’s impossible. But you want to get young people under the radar because, coming from a different country and getting the price tag on your head and coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world, there’s going to be so much pressure in the first place
2020 04 28 Retrieve
[Nicky Butt says Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were harshly criticised for their treatment of academy stars at Manchester United] I think it’s harsh on Van Gaal and Mourinho, and David Moyes to a point, because they didn’t come into Man Utd and go this is it, move it all to one side, disrespect Man Utd and we’ll do it this way. They didn’t. They never did - it’s a myth that they did. Mourinho was brilliant with me. He spoke to me every single day at breakfast and asked about the kids. He did a few meetings with the kids when they were going to Portugal [in the UEFA Youth League] and telling them what to expect and so on
[Butt went on to admit that he prefers working under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] If me, you and Ben [Thornley] and Maysie [David May] said ‘Let’s go and work at Real Madrid’, you’re not going to know anybody. There’s that many people that stab you in the back in football as you all know. If you’re going into an environment you don’t know, you’re not going to open the door to every Tom, Dick and Harry, because you don’t know who these people are, you don’t know where they’re going. So you can understand both sides of the story. Obviously, I prefer the way it is now, I preferred the way it was when we were there [as players], but that’s because we knew everybody. You trusted the canteen staff, you trusted the cleaning staff, because you knew them when you were 16, so we can look at it in a bubble and go ‘all these managers come in here and it’s shocking’ but I don’t think it is, because you’ve got to put yourself in their position, and if you went out to a club you didn’t know, it’ll be totally different
2020 05 10 Retrieve
[How Man Utd revived their ailing academy] I think that’s harsh on (Louis) Van Gaal and (Jose) Mourinho – and David Moyes to a point. They didn’t come in to Man Utd and go, ‘Move [the Academy] to one side, disrespect Man Utd [and its traditions] and we’ll do it my way.’ They never did that – it’s a myth