Since the rumours of Jose Mourinho taking over the hot seat at Old Trafford gathered pace in December, several myths have been circling regarding his management style.
The strongest myth being that he does not play or trust youth players. But is this really true? No. It’s not. Let’s take a look at clubs he has managed and the young players that he handed first team opportunities to:
- Porto (2002-2004)
- Chelsea (2004-2007)
- Inter Milan (2008-2010)
- Real Madrid (2010-2013)
- Chelsea 2013-2015)
Jose Mourinho’s time at Porto saw the emergence of players such as Deco, Maniche and Ricardo Carvalho. These players became Portugal internationals while Mourinho was at the helm. While none of the above mentioned players were at the beginning of their careers, the same cannot be said for then 19-year-old Carlos Alberto, who scored the opening goal of the 2004 Champions League final victory. Alberto became the youngest scorer in a European cup final.
In a side with Claude Makelele being the only player over 30, Mourinho also placed faith in younger players including Petr Cech (22), John Terry (23) and Arjen Robben (20). All these players were in the early stages of their careers. Youngsters Glen Johnson and Robert Huth also played enough games to pick up winners medals before they turned 21. Other players getting a shot at first team football were Steven Watt, Jimmy Smith, Michael Woods, Anthony Grant, Ben Sahar and Sam Hutchinson.
Inter Milan’s sides under Mourinho were packed with experienced players, but teenager Mario Balotelli made over 70 appearances while 18-year-old Davide Santon was handed an opportunity playing in defence against Manchester United in the Champions League.
During his three-year spell in charge of Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho handed debuts to 20 (yes, twenty) different academy players. These included the likes of Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez. Raphael Varane, a purchase from French side Lens, was also a young player Mourinho put his faith in.
In the first season of Jose’s second stint at Chelsea, he awarded Dominic Solanke with a professional debut aged just 17 in a Champions League match while Ruben Loftus-Cheek made three appearances. Other players to receive professional debuts under Mourinho were: Lewis Baker, John Swift and Andreas Christensen.
So, the proof is there and the myth is busted. Jose Mourinho has no qualms in putting his faith in youth. Sure, most of them may have only had a few minutes here and there and nothing more. But, there are some big names up there who played big parts and are household names today.
It just goes to show that if Mourinho believes that a young player has what it takes, he will give them the opportunity.
We must remember, promoting youth doesn’t necessarily mean handing a debut to every single player that comes through the youth academy. That’s not what it’s about.
Source: Sky Sports