• Pathway from academy to first-team is there for those who are good enough, insists Butt.
  • Arnau Puigmal is the latest young prospect to have joined the club's youth ranks.

Manchester United's Head of Academy Nicky Butt is confident the club can attract the best young talent to the club ahead of their rivals.

In a recruitment drive overseen by the club's former midfielder, United have upped their efforts to secure the best young talent from within the UK and across Europe in a bid to win back ground from Manchester City, who had stolen a march on their city rivals at that level in recent years.

This summer, the club have made a handful of promising additions to Kieran McKenna's Under-18 squad, including former Paris Saint-Germain youngster Aliou Traore and Di'Shon Bernard, who has arrived from Chelsea. The 16-year-old Arnau Puigmal has also confirmed he has joined the Old Trafford club from Espanyol.

Butt, who was given his role overseeing the academy in February 2016, isn't surprised by those recent successes, believing the club's record of developing young talent and introducing them to the first-team means they remain one of the most attractive destinations in the game.

"We are competing with a lot of clubs these days but I still believe we have got the best pathway," Butt told the club's official website. "It is a fact we are probably the best or one of the best in Europe at developing our lads for the first-team. We can speak to parents honestly and say, look, we always give our lads a chance to play for the club; the pathway is there to play if they are good enough."

"If not, we have x amount of players who play professionally across Europe and make a good living by playing football. The percentage who get to the first-team is very small so we have got to offer something else and we offer a really good upbringing and football knowledge. If you look at home many around the Championship are from our academy, it is great for the coaches."

Nicky Butt
Butt is confident the route from the academy to senior team is more open at United than any other club. getty