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Manchester United have promoted former midfielder Nicky Butt to the vacant academy chief's position as they begin the process of restructuring their youth development department. The member of the famous class of '92 which included David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers, will be in charge to oversee the reformation of the youth setup.
The position has been vacant for over 10 months following Brian McClair's departure, who moved to take up a position at the Scottish Football Association, and it is now clear that the club were reviewing the setup before making a decision on the future direction of their academy. The Red Devils' executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had indicated recently that the club are reviewing the structure and confirmed that changes will be made in the coming months.
The first step of the restructuring saw the club confirm the departure of U18's coach Paul McGuinness, who decided to step down from the post following a dismal season for the team, which has seen them fail to win a single game in their last 12 encounters.
Meanwhile, Woodward expressed delight following the former midfielder's appointment and was of the view that his experience and passion towards the betterment of the club will continue to keep them at the forefront when it comes to progressing youth-team players to the first-team. Butt admitted that it is a massive challenge, however, he is keen to maintain the rich tradition of supplying the senior team with well-groomed talented youngsters from the academy.
"I am delighted that Nicky has accepted the role of Head of Academy. Nicky has the traditions and heritage of this Club in his blood and he is the natural choice to ensure that, in modernising the way the Academy operates and shaping the new investment we are making, it retains the values and the focus that it has always had," the executive vice-chairman told United's official website.
"Manchester United's Academy is completely focused on producing young players for our first team. As a graduate of its finest team in the modern era, Nicky will bring passion, energy and experience to drive the Academy forward, retaining the characteristics that give us a competitive advantage – namely an unmatched track record of player development together with the runway of first-team action. In the last four years, some 15 Academy graduates have played for the first team, playing a total of 173 appearances – a record of which the Club is very proud.
"It's a privilege to take on this role. As someone who learned his trade in the United youth set-up, it's a huge honour now to be given the chance to lead the Academy and to instill its values and attitudes to continue to create future generations of Manchester United players," Butt added.
"It's a big challenge but I am fortunate to be taking over a dedicated, first-class team. Our aim remains the same – to keep supplying the first team with well-coached, rounded players that understand the responsibility of playing for the biggest club in the world," he stressed.