Man United rely most heavily on academy graduates among Premier League clubs, study finds

Press Association Sport 08:46 31/07/2019
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Manchester United displaced Arsenal last season as the Premier League team relying most heavily on graduates of their own academy.

United’s famed youth system produced the most players across the Premier League as a whole for the third year in succession, but the tally of minutes given to homegrown players has previously been the Gunners’ domain.

For the 2018-19 season, however, United’s academy did the double as almost a quarter of their playing time went to talent developed in Carrington.

Key trio lift United to top spot

PA has once again tracked the playing time of every player in last season’s Premier League along with the club or academy where they finished their youth career.

Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard continued to lead United’s homegrown contingent, with the former pair increasing their playing time to 3,245 and 2,494 minutes respectively while Lingard dipped slightly to 1,765.

Scott McTominay played 953 minutes and fellow midfielder Andreas Pereira 660 as United gave 9,334 minutes of playing time to homegrown players – up from 6,858 the previous season and accounting for 23 per cent of the club’s league season including stoppage time.

Their rise to top spot also stems in part from Arsenal’s tally dropping from 7,933 minutes to 4,976. Injuries roughly halved Hector Bellerin’s involvement while Jack Wilshere left the club, along with lesser contributors from 2017-18 in Francis Coquelin and Hoffenheim loanee Reiss Nelson.

That dropped them all the way to seventh in the homegrown standings, leaving north London rivals Tottenham to provide the main challenge to United as they did in the league-wide academy study. Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Harry Winks were regulars for Spurs, supplemented by just over 650 minutes shared between Kyle Walker-Peters, Oliver Skipp and Luke Amos.

Crystal Palace ranked third, though their hold on that position looks fragile with Aaron Wan-Bissaka sold to United and Wilfried Zaha also consistently linked with a move away – that would leave only midfielder Luke Dreher’s four minutes from the season’s tally.

Declan Rice’s emergence lifted West Ham to fourth while Southampton and Leicester also surpassed Arsenal. Saints matched United for the most homegrown players used – nine.

City lag behind but hopes high for Foden

In contrast to their local rivals, Manchester City trailed the entire league in the use of homegrown players.

Despite the significant investment in City’s academy facilities adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, Phil Foden was the only in-house graduate to feature for Pep Guardiola’s side on their way to the league title.

The talented midfielder played just 371 minutes in 13 league appearances, including only three starts – though his involvement in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions means hopes remain high for the 19-year-old, whom Pep Guardiola recently labelled “the most talented player I have ever seen”.

City also won last season’s Under-18 Premier League Cup and reached the FA Youth Cup final – and of course, fans will look at the Premier League table and be happier with their lot than that of United.

Bright spot for Terriers

There were 66 players in last season’s Premier League representing the club which developed them, an increase of four on 2017-18’s figures.

Only five clubs had five or more as United and Southampton were joined by Spurs and Arsenal, with six apiece, and Huddersfield.

Town were relegated in ignominious fashion but Phillip Billing, now departed for Bournemouth, and Tommy Smith remained regular first-team contributors while youngsters Matty Daly, Aaron Rowe and Demeaco Duhaney featured late in the season as 9.4 per cent of playing time went to homegrown players.

Six of one…

City were one of half a dozen Premier League teams to use a solitary graduate of their own academy, though many featured far more than Foden.

Lewis Dunk, ever-present the previous season, played 3,376 minutes in 2018-19 to single-handedly put Brighton ninth in homegrown playing time, while Cardiff’s Joe Ralls and Watford’s Adrian Mariappa each played over 2,000 minutes.

Dwight McNeil is the only homegrown player to play for Burnley in the three years of the study but having only made his league debut in the last two minutes of the 2017-18 campaign, he established himself last term with 1,683 minutes, three goals and five assists.

Morgan Gibbs-White broke into Wolves’ line-up with 766 minutes – like Foden, he will hope to build on that in the coming season.

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Ivan Rakitic reportedly offered to Manchester United for good price

David Cooper - Writer 10:48 30/07/2019
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Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic

Barcelona are open to the sale of Ivan Rakitic and have circled Manchester United as a potential buyer, reports Diario SPORT.

Rumours persist regarding the future of Paul Pogba as Real Madrid continue to be linked with a mega move.

Should that switch transpire, United will head into the market for a midfield replacement and are running out of time with the Premier League transfer window shutting on August 8.

However, Barca are in a position to offer up Rakitic with Ernesto Valverde strongly reinforcing his options in midfield over the summer having signed Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.

The report suggests representatives on behalf of United have already reached out to inquire about the Croatian’s availability. So far, there has been no concrete interest in Rakitic despite Paris Saint-Germain’s attempts to sign him for €90 million last summer.

Inter are reportedly keeping tabs and according to Diario SPORT, Rakitic will be available for a fee in the region of €50m.

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See Man United train ahead of Kristiansund friendly with Romelu Lukaku not involved

Sport360 staff 09:53 30/07/2019
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Manchester United trained at the Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo on Monday, a day ahead of their friendly against Kristiansund.

The match against Solskjaer’s hometown club is United’s penultimate pre-season fixture before they face Italian side AC Milan in Cardiff on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku – who continues to be linked with a move to Inter Milan – was left out of United’s travelling squad.

Lukaku was with United for their pre-season tour of Australia, Singapore and China, but knocks meant the striker missed all four matches.


Defender Eric Bailly is not part of the group either, after he sustained a knee injury in the recent victory over Tottenham in the International Champions Cup.








United have won all four of their pre-season fixtures with victories over Perth Glory, Leeds United, Inter and Tottenham.



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