Manchester United academy chief Nicky Butt says they can still be a magnet for talented young players.
The 41-year-old former England midfielder believes he has an ace up his sleeve.
He can point to the emergence of a group led by Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson this season as proof that the spirit of youth lives on at United, the club that brought us the Busby Babes and a golden generation two decades ago that included Butt, Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers.
“We can offer the chance to play for Manchester United’s first team – that’s the best thing we can do,” said Butt
“That is the remit of the club, the powers-that-be, to put someone in charge who will give young people a chance. It’s there for everyone to see.
“It depends what people’s drive is. Some parents have a drive for financial rewards and some parents have a drive for their kids to get into first-team football, particularly at this club.
“I’m not here to slag any other clubs off, they’ve got their own way of doing it, and good luck to them. A lot of these clubs are fantastic clubs and have good set-ups.
“But I know from my own point of view, and from all the lads who have come through here, you look into the parents’ eyes and say that we will give you the chance and a pathway to play for Manchester United’s first team.
“With me it was Sir Alex, and now it’s my job.”