Jose Mourinho wanted Manchester United starlet Mason Greenwood to train with the first team at the age of 15, according to club legend Nicky Butt.
Greenwood, 20, is currently one of the Premier League’s best young talents, showing a clinical edge far beyond his years since breaking out during the 2019/20 season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But the Englishman’s talent was clear even when he was still a teenage schoolboy, with Jose Mourinho asking academy manager Butt whether he could promote the youngster to the first-team.
Mourinho, who spent two-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford, had to settle for the older McTominay, who he handed a first-team debut in the 2016/17 season instead.
Speaking to The Athletic, Butt said: “[Mourinho was] an unbelievable character. I was his academy manager so I wondered what it would be like.
“The reality was that he spoke to me every single morning at breakfast. He asked me about young players, he was approachable, he was helpful.
“He was single-minded and selfish – and whether you like it or not, that’s what the best managers are.
“He would ask me which players I wanted to move up. He asked, ‘Who is this kid Greenwood?’ when Mason was 15. ‘Bring him to train with us’, and I said, ‘We can’t, because he’s at school and there are rules and regulations.’
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“I pushed Scott McTominay and explained that he was a good kid who he’d like; one who was aggressive, can run and pass. Jose had him training and Scott never looked back."
McTominay has since gone on to make 95 league appearances for the Red Devils.
Meanwhile, Greenwood has netted 20 goals in 72 games, showing that Mourinho was on to something when quizzing Butt over the winger.
The former ‘Class of ‘92’ midfielder went on to describe Mourinho’s hands-on approach with the United youngsters.
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He added: “Jose sat with the under-19s ahead of a trip to Portugal. He told them what to expect, he said that Victor Lindelof will be the next big player.
“Jose was good and, for an elite manager with his record, he was very, very good with me.
“He walked into the room and you knew he was the boss. If he had a stern face you knew he wasn’t in the good mood but at other times he had a laugh.”
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