Despite United failing miserably last season they could take solace from the fact it looked like they had unearthed a gem of a player in 19-year-old Adnan Januzaj. The skilful winger made 27 Premier League appearances under the tenure of David Moyes and in the process scored four goals and made three assists; it was a fantastic breakthrough year for the young Belgian international.
However 35-year-old Queens Park Rangers defender, Rio Ferdinand, has sensationally slammed the way young players reach the first team these days, by saying the path they take is too easy and as a result they do not toughen up as much as they should.
The centre-back, who had a very prestigious 12-years at United, has been airing his explosive views in The Sun as part of the serialisation of his new autobiography #2sides.
Ferdinand said: "Some kids need to keep their feet on the ground, stay humble. Growing up I had to sweep floors, clean toilets and earn privileges.
"Young players today get them automatically. For example, first-team changing rooms used to be no-go zones for any young player. You had to really prove yourself before you went in there.
"Nowadays it’s almost nothing. Adnan Januzaj was in the United changing room from day one, as it was completely normal. It’s not his fault. He didn’t know there used to be all these little staging posts during a long career. You used to have to climb the ladder slowly.”
The ex-England international makes a point, but times have dramatically changed since he was coming through the ranks at West Ham. Now you can't really make talented youngsters clean toilets, polish boots or wash kits; if clubs did this then they would find themselves losing their best young players.
As soon as a club discovers a potential wonderkid they tie them down on extravagant wages and wrap them up in cotton wool, protecting them from the hardships that professionals used to undertake. The money and the influence of agents has helped to smooth out what used to be a bumpy road to first team football, and it's unlikely to change anytime soon.