Its a complete contrast to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inherited at Manchester United. Top players not willing to come to MUFC after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, players bought under four different managers with differing styles, two clear outs by Louis van Gaal and Solskjaer that made the squad thin, failure to win the FA Youth Cup since 2011, reserves team suffered relegation, many potential youth players being snapped up by other clubs, dressing room in disarray, players wanting out, players biding their time not playing, many long term injuries,... in short a complete mess. Neither the management had a recruitment team like Chelsea that brought players with a clear philosophy irrespective of who was the manager. That meant a life-long MUFC fan Christian Pulisic joining the blues of Chelsea having been on their radar and not of the Reds of Manchester.
Credit to Solskjaer to have started with a clear out and uniting the dressing room by promoting the youth with Marcus Rashford the torch bearer at a tender age of just 21 with 50 goals already. That's also putting pressure on them quite early. Mason Greenwood, Tahit Chong, Angel Gomes, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams and James Garner are still very young compared to the Chelsea counterparts in their first team by about 2 to 4 years and without being loaned out nor having experienced playing every week. At that age the difference is massive to learn the nuances of the game, to recover from a game or injury, adjust to the pace, adapt to travel across Europe, have more than one pre-season training to prepare for a grueling schedule. Tammy Abraham is older than Marcus Rashford let alone Mason Greenwood with whom he is compared with wrongly & by 4 years.
MUFC being synonymous with Busby Babes by winning six straight FA Youth Cup's from its inception and later Sir Alex Ferguson reviving it with Eric Harrison which is a policy that many have tried to emulate since. Only Chelsea have matched the Busby Babes record for winning six straight FA Youth Cups and incidentally last year MUFC stopped them by beating in the 3rd round itself thereby protecting the Busby Babes record. MUFC last won the FA Youth Cup in 2011 with Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jesse Lingard, Keane brothers and since then have struggled year after year. Last time MUFC went past the 5th round of FA Youth Cup was in 2012 in a semi-final loss to eventual winners guess who, Chelsea! That's clearly a big gulf between the two youth setup's however reputed MUFC youth team were once upon a time.
Chelsea have over the last five years been loaning out its players to teams across the continent and can count a dozen goal keepers on its books. That's a very large pool of players for each position in the team that the coaching staff can choose to bring into the first team. MUFC can hope for only two loaned out players Dean Henderson at Sheffield United and Aidan Barlow at Tromso to break into the first team. Frank Lampard being the Chelsea legend is making good on the last accusation of his club i.e., not integrating the youth in the first team although forced by the transfer ban to groom Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Recce James, et al. Chelsea not only won the FA Youth Cup's but did so by thumping their opponents Manchester City and Arsenal by scores like 6-1 or 4-2 such has been their dominance. Jody Morris who coached most of these players has returned as assistant to Frank Lampard.
Solskjaer was a reserve team coach when Paul Pogba was groomed before joining Juventus. Ricky Sbragia was brought back and sacked, Warren Joyce left to join Salford City in July this year and replaced by team of Neil Wood and Quinton Fortune. Finally Nicky Butt has vacated his role as academy director to be replaced by Nick Cox from Sheffield who moves up from being academy operations manager. With the focus on hiring young British talent Solskjaer will look to Nicky Butt as head of first team development to provide them coaching as the Norwegian will have limited time as Manager. Cup competition is by no means the only yardstick to gauge the success of youth players but not getting beyond the 5th round since 2012 is a huge failure on both scouting system and development. Here's hoping Nick Cox to turn things around.
Manchester United Junior Athletic Club formed in 1937 was a brain child of the then club chairman James W Gibson to make MUFC competitive in economic depression when he saved them from the brink and were unable to fund any transfers. James Gibson secured the acquisition of the Cliff training ground, persuaded Midland Railway operating Manchester Central to London St Pancras trains to stop at Old Trafford on match days to increase gate receipts and MUJAC helped in discovering players from Charlie Mitten to Marcus Rashford. MUFC can count on at least one player from the academy in their first team on a match day squad since then which is 3,989 games over 81 years!! No wonder MUFC top the rankings of promoting academy players to first team. Chelsea under Lampard are all set to catch up.