‘Football’s Unsung Heroes’ – Manchester United’s Paul McGuinness

McGuinness leading a training session

Talent without direction usually leads to nowhere and fast. Many a player who could have made a name for them self in the game, has squandered their talent because they did not have the right figure head to guide their career at the pivotal stage in their development.

Thus special praise must be reserved for the men in the game who help guide young players along the right path and at Manchester United that man is Paul McGuinness.

The son of a ‘Busby Babe’ it seems like it was fate that put McGuinness in charge of youth development, managing United’s u18’s side as well as being assistant academy director for players aged 17-21 and what a job he has done.

He has over seen the progression of numerous players from academy to reserve level and from reserve level to the first team, all steps that are not easy. McGuinness doesn’t only over see their footballing careers he also has a hand in their off field lives as well and has fully immersed himself in the role,

“I’ve dealt with scouts at all levels, the landladies at our young players’ digs, I’m aware of how difficult it can be for the young lads being away from home, I’ve been involved with the education side, the coaching side…I’ve seen all aspects of United’s youth development, and that has really helped me in this role.”

Many players can attribute their rise through the club’s ranks to McGuinness and current United defender Jonny Evans reserved special praise for his former manager when asked about preparation for life in the first team:

“I’ve had some great coaches along the way, particularly Paul McGuinness . He’s very intense and you can see how dedicated he is to Manchester United, he absolutely loves the club and puts everything into his coaching. Working with him in the youth team gives you an insight into what it means to work at Manchester United. He developed me as a person and as a player. He makes you realise you’ve got to put the work in for yourself if you’re going to become a better player.”

And Evans would not be the only one if asked, as Danny Welbeck who McGuiness particularly helped with his rise through the ranks would probably have similar words of gratitude towards his former manager.

A new wave of United youngsters are looking to break through to the first team leading The Telegraph to claim ‘it is below the surface (of the first team) where Ferguson has even greater cause for optimism’. They named the likes of Joshua King, John Cofie, Will Keane, Davide Petrucci, Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba in the piece so be assured that if they do in fact go out and become the stars that Mark Ogden and Henry Winter are so sure they will, Paul McGuinness will have played a massive part.

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