Some would opine that Paul Scholes often dips his toes into the sea of cynicism when it comes to his punditry. But his sometimes dour tone should not be mistaken for pessimism.
Indeed, we would say that it’s refreshing to see a Manchester United idol be so objective in his comments about his and other clubs. He’s certainly not one of these commentators who is naturally biased toward his old club. Paul Scholes has his eyes wide open.
In his weekly column he has spoken about his concern for Manchester United as Manchester City may have overtaken them in terms of youth development.
Of course Manchester United famously reared The Class of 92 and have brought through so many talented youngsters. They may not all have become Manchester United greats but all 4 divisions of the English league are quite literally littered with United graduates.
But, even before Manchester City planned and developed their new training complex, they were apparently making great strides in terms of their investment in youth.
When I was a kid, it was the case among the lads I played football with that if Manchester United wanted to sign you then joining Manchester City was not even a consideration.
Thirty years on, and the picture in Manchester is very different and, as a United fan, it worries me.
City have taken great strides in their youth academy programmes, to the extent where there are even United players past and present who have, or at least once had, sons at City’s academy.
The idea of identifying and bringing through a world star is always the ultimate goal. It happens once in a generation if an elite club is very lucky.
Manchester City are not only giving themselves the best possible chance of doing that but generating what will become a self sufficient player farm as the club sells those who don’t make the grade to grateful recipients at other clubs.
In this respect, Manchester United may not just be equalled but, before long, City could surpass them.