By 90Min
October 23, 2019

Former Manchester United midfielder and current development chief Nicky Butt has claimed more exciting talent is coming through the ranks at Old Trafford, but refrained from setting his expectations too high.

Butt, who was part of United's famous class of 1992, suggested 'four or five' exciting prospects are not far from the first team, and expects them to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford.

Rashford made his United breakthrough in 2016 and is still only 21, despite having an abundance of club and international experience. A lot of pressure and criticism has been sent the young forward's way, following some supposedly poor performances.

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Speaking to PA Sport as quoted by Goal, Butt said: "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.

"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.

"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.” 

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Working with the youngsters and coming through the club's academy himself, Butt knows how big and difficult the jump is. He explained that the mind of a teenager is fragile, and playing in front of 76,000 people is a test of character. 

He added: “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."

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Throughout the Premier League era, academy graduates have made a name for themselves at Old Trafford. Astonishingly, Manchester United have named a graduate in their match day squad 3,987 times in a row, showing how much faith they have in their own system.

Not only Rashford, but Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard came through the United academy and start regularly for club and country. Despite the criticism, it is refreshing to see United's faith in youth pay-off once again

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