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Mourinho wants to be seen as a developer of young stars

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Mourinho wants old pal Van Gaal's job at Man Utd
Mourinho wants old pal Van Gaal's job at Man Utd

Jose Mourinho is keen to redefine himself as manager who is keen to develop young players, as he looks to counteract one of the chief arguments against his appointment as Manchester United manager.

Mourinho is the strong favourite to succeed Louis van Gaal as United manager this summer, although a strong finish to this season could yet see the much-maligned Dutchman remain in his post into the third and final year of his contract.

Van Gaal's success in promoting youthful players during his two years at United has seen the likes of Marcus Rashford, Paddy McNair and Timothy Fosu-Mensah emerge as rising stars of the first team.

Yet the perception remains that Mourinho has rarely embraced youth development throughout his decorated career, with his successes at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto built around big-money signings rather.

Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs and Denis Irwin are among the high profile United voices suggesting youth development should be at the heart of United's future and now Mourinho has responded with a message of his own.

In an article written by Sam Wallace in the Telegraph, Mourinho's camp has seemingly set out to offer these arguments to dismiss the notion that their man will not embrace the rising stars coming through the ranks at Old Trafford.

"Mourinho has a very different view of what constitutes successful youth development at a club such as Chelsea or Real Madrid," the feature reads.

"He would argue that Kurt Zouma, a £12 m signing from St Etienne, was his development success.

"The same for Raphael Varane, signed by Real Madrid for £8m, aged 18, from Lens, whom he championed, or his decision at Chelsea in 2004 to promote a 22-year-old Petr Cech, signed from that summer for £7m from Rennes, ahead of Carlo Cudicini."

It remains to be seen whether these messages being leaked out by Mourinho's camp will have any effect on his hopes of landing the United job, with Van Gaal's future set to be decided as he looks to secure a top four finish in the Premier League and win the FA Cup over the course of the next month.