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'Manchester United is in my DNA' - Butt promoted to new development role

21:49 WAT 22/07/2019
Nicky Butt - cropped
The former Red Devils midfielder and member of the 'Class of '92' has been promoted as the club continue its focus on the development of young players

Nicky Butt has been appointed as Manchester United's new head of first team development.

The 44-year-old – who played for the club between 1992 and 2004 – had been United's head of academy since 2016.

Butt has had an important role in the development of Mason Greenwood, James Garner and Tahith Chong, who are all in United's senior squad for their pre-season tour of Asia.

In a statement on the club's official website, United said that Butt will report directly to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and is responsible for creating "a seamless journey for young players stepping up to the next level".

Butt has been replaced as the club's head of academy by Nick Cox.

“Manchester United is in my DNA and this is a very proud moment for me as I take on this new role,” said Butt. “I am passionate about nurturing, developing and coaching the talent we have here to become top players at this club.

“Under Ole’s leadership, our vision will ensure that we continue to provide the right environment for our young players to thrive in.”

Executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward, added: “These changes will further enhance the excellent work and results we have seen over many decades in our academy system and enable us to continue our proud traditions of producing world-class players capable of playing and excelling in the first team.”

Butt won 15 major honours as a player at Old Trafford, including six Premier League titles and one Champions League, before leaving for Newcastle in 2004.

Brief spells at Birmingham and South China followed before he retired from playing 2011.

A year later, Butt returned United as reserve team coach before being promoted to head of academy in 2016.

His new role reflects Solskjaer’s desire to place a greater focus on developing young talent rather than bringing in established – and therefore often expensive - names.

That has also been reflected in their transfer policy with summer signings Daniel James and Aaron Ban-Wisakka just 21 years of age.

Both players have impressed during United’s pre-season tour of Asia as has 17-year-old midfielder Greenwood, who scored in friendlies against Leeds and Inter to earn comparisons with Ryan Giggs.