Gary Neville: Man United’s English youngsters must ‘kick on’
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville urges the Red Devils' young England stars to kick on next season
Gary Neville says Manchester United’s young England stars must “kick on” next season after winning their first Premier League title.
Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck were all key members of the Red Devils side which won the top-flight crown at a canter this season.
The English quartet have now experienced both the disappointment of losing the Premier League crown in heartbreaking fashion and the elation of winning back England’s top prize.
And Neville hopes United’s next generation of stars can utilise the experience next season and become ever better players in their third year as first-team regulars.
“It is critical to have young English players at the club who are coming through and have good potential,” Neville told United’s website.
“Those players need to develop and become better. They are now champions after winning the title; they should gain confidence from that and want to go again.
“They should also feel more mature after the experience of losing the title last year and winning it back this season. They are two years on and this third season is where they really need to perform, kick on and become Manchester United players.
“There is a pressure on young players but in the first two years you are given a lot of leeway because you are young. Next year, you are getting to that 22 or 23 age and some of them will need to perform on a far more consistent basis, getting into the starting team more regularly.
“We have seen Jonny Evans do it in some ways, other players like Rafael have done it after being in and out for a couple of seasons and now he is number one. David De Gea, for instance, was swapping with Anders Lindegaard and now he is the number one.
“We have seen young players take that step and now it is for Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley to move into that position where they are full-time players.”