Former Leeds and Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson has said the pressure on managers like Jose Mourinho at Manchester United is preventing young players from being given chances.
Robinson, who debuted age 19, believes he was “fortunate” to be given a chance at Leeds United at the beginning of his career due to injuries to the club’s two first-choice goalkeepers.
Did Mourinho shun Man Utd youngsters? Five things to know…
- Jose Mourinho has been criticised for failing to use young players throughout his career, some of whom went on to become world-class players elsewhere.
- However, in 2016/17 Mourinho put out the youngest Man United XI in Premier League history with an average age of 22 years and 284 days.
- The Portuguese coach put plenty of faith in Scott McTominay last season but seemed to give youngsters fewer opportunities this term before his sacking.
- And Mourinho stated publicly that United’s younger players lack “character”.
- Robinson believes the need for results stops managers from picking youngsters.
Jordan Pickford is a rare example of a Premier League goalkeeper given opportunities at an early age, having played his first senior game for former club Sunderland at 22. Robinson, however, doesn’t believe goalkeepers are in a different boat to other young players.
“I don’t think the age of goalkeepers necessarily matters,” Robinson told the Squawka Talker.
“The main reason, in my opinion, that goalkeepers aren’t given their chance early on is the same as why young players in other positions don’t. It’s because managers are under such pressure at the moment. A manager hasn’t got three or four months to blood a young goalkeeper in a team when they need results.
“Managers now have such a short lifespan. Say, for instance, Manchester City need a left-back. Is Pep Guardiola going to blood a youngster from the academy who’s been out on loan a couple of times? Or is he going to spend £50m because the board will give him it?
“Unfortunately for young players, that’s the world that we’re living in. It seems Manchester City and Chelsea have squads they will do a pre-season with, and then send them out on loan. And they have coaches and managers to monitor their loan squads.”
“Mourinho’s centre-back pursuit was the beginning of the end for him at Man Utd”
This summer Manchester United loaned out academy product Axel Tuanzebe to Aston Villa, and Mourinho requested they pursue more senior centre-backs such as Jerome Boateng and Toby Alderweireld in the transfer market.
They failed to sign either and Mourinho, whose United team conceded 29 goals in 17 Premier League games, was sacked this month.
Robinson says the former Chelsea manager’s dismissal appeared inevitable.
He said: “Could I see Mourinho’s sacking coming? Yes, because once a manager and a board fall out, the owner of a football club gets what he wants,” he explained.
“Mourinho’s chase of a centre-back was the beginning of the end, if you like, with Manchester City having spent what they have in recent seasons.
“There have been noises coming out of the club about unrest, the manager falling out with different players, and it’s not the Manchester United of old that we’ve come to know. And as I was saying before, it’s a results game. If results [don’t go your way], especially against your biggest rivals Liverpool, then there’s going to be a problem.”
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Paul Robinson appeared on the Squawka in his capacity as FansBet ambassador to talk about the upcoming Star Sixes tournament in January. To find out more, visit FansBet.