José Mourinho has assured Manchester United fans that he will not be the manager to break the club’s proud 80-year record of having an academy graduate in the match day squad. He also confirmed that Scott McTominay is now a permanent member of the first team, and that he intends to promote another youth product next season.
“I don't want to be the one that breaks that and I think the next United manager - it doesn’t matter when he comes - should also try not to break it.
“It is more difficult now than it was before, but I think it is good. I feel it like a way to keep a certain identity of the club. To keep that identity means, basically, we should bring a new player from the academy every season.
Mourinho also emphasized that his idea of promoting a player does not simply mean granting that player a first team debut, but rather making them a fixture in the senior squad.
“You can bring someone to play 10 minutes, then the player disappears and then you can say, ‘Oh, 40 players have their debut with me’. But none of them are important.
“When I say 'bring', I mean (for them) to stay. I think what is happening with (Jesse) Lingard and (Marcus) Rashford is now happening with Scott McTominay…because he is not going to leave the club any more.
“To follow a certain pathway is important. I am doing it with McTominay. Mr Van Gaal had the start of Rashford, I am having it with Scott McTominay and, next year, there should be another.”
In other Mourinho news, the manager was understandably pissed at Gareth Southgate and England for playing Phil Jones - injury-prone and already just barely back from injury - in a meaningless friendly. As he should be. That was a stupid idea, and now United could be without their senior center back for Newcastle United’s visit on Saturday.
Marcos Rojo is getting closer to making a return to first team action. Already back in training, Rojo played 45 minutes for the Reserves on Wednesday. After coming through the encounter unscathed, Rojo could be in line for a place on the bench on Saturday against Newcastle, especially if Phil Jones doesn’t recover from injury.
Callum Gribbin, who is the new Ravel Morrison (and the old Angel Gomes?) has returned from injury. The talented playmaker suffered a fractured fibula on the eve on the new season, and had been out of action since. He came off the bench as a late substitute in the Reserves comeback win over Athletic Bilboa. In ten minutes, he managed to be involved in the winner and pick up a yellow card in a late scuffle. Look out for Gribbin to be a candidate to make his first team debut under Mourinho later this season.