Bruno Fernandes has said the key for any Manchester United academy graduate wanting to become a regular part of the first-team is to remain humble and keep working hard once they begin to start training with the senior squad.
Young players promoted to the senior ranks could all too easily allow themselves to relax, thinking they have made it. But it is really only the first step and, despite training with the first-team, emerging talents still have to prove themselves on match duty with the Under-23 or Under-18 sides.
United currently have a number of promising youngsters training with the first-team squad but playing games at the junior level. Amad Diallo is the highest profile example, but Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri have recently been given that opportunity as well.
The same could also be said for Uruguayan talent Facundo Pellistri and star defender Teden Mengi prior to January loan moves to Deportivo Alaves and Derby County respectively.
Fernandes commented that it was a ‘good sign’, highlighting the work the academy is doing.
“Of course it’s still a long way [to go]…I remember when I was young and training with the first team, it’s the first step,” the Portugal international, who left home at 17 and signed a professional contract with Italian side Novara in Serie B, told ManUtd.com.
“Now is the time to be humble, keep training well and keep doing the right things when they go back to the U18s and U23s, and you have to try to make the difference over there.”
“They have to keep their heads clean because it’s easy to come into the first-team and your head goes a little bit. It’s also hard when you have to go back and train and play with the [junior] teams.
“I was in that position some years ago and I know it’s hard, but if you work and are humble and you understand that every time you play is a chance, no matter where you are playing, every time is a chance to show you are ready or that you want to make that next step.”
Home-grown players are the lifeblood of United. The club continues to extend the remarkable record of naming at least one – often several – home-grown player in every single matchday squad, a run that began in October 1937 and is now in its 84th year.