Manchester United were once told that “you don’t win anything with kids”, and Gary Neville believes the club’s class of 2019-20 will prove that to be the case.
Back in the mid-1990s, Alan Hansen famously stated that, after the Red Devils opened the season with a defeat away at Aston Villa, Sir Alex Ferguson had taken the wrong approach by putting his faith in youth.
That claim was made to look rather foolish as the fabled Class of ’92 helped to consolidate United’s standing as the dominant force in England and serious challengers for European crowns.
Neville, alongside the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, proved that youngsters can play a leading role if used in the right way and introduced to a squad that boasts plenty of experience around them.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current team are considered to lack leaders, making it impossible for academy graduates such as Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford to have the same kind of impact as iconic predecessors.
Neville told Sky Sports : “I pointed out on Sunday [during a 2-0 defeat at West Ham] at the £900m that has been spent in the last seven or eight years, and there's nothing left of it really.
“There are the bones of a squad, some young players from the academy that haven't cost that money. Potentially David de Gea, who is struggling. There's Harry Maguire but there's a lot more rebuilding to do.
“I've said many times that Alan Hansen was right, you don't win anything with kids.
“The Class of '92 didn't win that Premier League title. We had Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Brian McClair and Peter Schmeichel. We had world-class performers and two of the best centre-backs ever.
“Keane was the most inspirational captain and leader, Cantona was world class, Schmeichel was the best in the world and Denis Irwin was brilliant. They pulled us through it. If the Class of '92 had gone into this team, we would have had no chance.”
Neville has stated on several occasions that he believes United are a number of transfer windows and several years away from being contenders for major honours once again.
He has now reiterated that, with it his opinion that the Red Devils require more serious investment in order to get their squad up to standard.
He added: “I'm not panicking as a fan. I'm frustrated but not panicking.
“What I would say is they have to quickly and efficiently identify three or four players to go alongside De Gea and Maguire. They need a couple of midfield players, they need a striker to carry the front line, they need a wide player and they need a left-back.
“You can't kid football fans. There are five or six players required.”