By 90Min
November 10, 2017

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has suggested that while a repeat of the 'Class of '92' would be very difficult, he believes that Old Trafford is certainly the right for it to happen given the club's enduring policy of youth promotion.

Along with close friends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and younger brother Phil, Neville was part of a youth team that all graduated to the first-team together and shaped the club's fortunes at the pinnacle of English football for over a decade.

In the ever more short-term outlook of modern football, many have questioned whether having that many home-grown players breakthrough all at once will ever happen again.

"You can sit here and say our time is over, but when you look at the guys in the current team - Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard - and the 80 years of consecutive games including youth team players, it's fantastic," Neville said at an adidas trainer - 'Ninety Two' - launch this week (ManUtd.com).

"It's important United continue to tell the story of youth, particularly in a time where it's more difficult to break into the first team, so I don't think we should let the candle burn out.

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"Ultimately we need to keep reminding people of the importance of producing young players and local players who've grown up loving the club. You can look what Tottenham, Southampton and the other clubs that produce a lot of young players, because they connect with the fans."

It is United's attitude towards youth over the last 80 years that makes Neville believe it will certainly possible, if not probable, to see another group make it to the first-team. I think this is the type of club that could do it, but it would be difficult," he explained.

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"England have just won the Under-17 World Cup and I think when you win trophies at the youth stage it gives you confidence and belief, and with belief as a young person, nothing can stop you."

For Neville, what will restrict the chances of a 'Class of '92' repeat is the immediate demand for results and the consequences for failing to meet expectation. Sir Alex Ferguson had no such fear back in the 1990s, and even Jose Mourinho, a manager with a notorious reputation for ignoring new talent, has bought into giving youth a chance since moving to Manchester.

"There's pressure on managers and owners to win the league or to stay in the league for the monetary values. The manager will maybe think: 'Can I cope with the mistakes a young lad will make, or do I go with the experienced lad, the safe option'," Neville commented.

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"That's where Sir Alex had courage, if you think about the players he got rid of to make way for us - they were some of the best players the club has ever had. But that's where he had belief, and we had that belief. Like I say, I hope it happens, but it will be very difficult."

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