Man Utd’s Academy Features A Humbling Image Of Messi Cleaning His Own Boots
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According to a recent article from Henry Winter in The Times, Manchester United’s academy dressing room proudly displays an image of Lionel Messi cleaning his own boots following a 2016 friendly between Argentina and Croatia at the old Boleyn Ground in London.
Here's the aformentioned image.
Since taking over at Manchester United, manager Jose Mourinho has never been reluctant to voice his strong opinions regarding today’s young footballers, going as far as to label them “brats” last year when speaking with France Football.
“I have had to adapt to a new world and what young players are like now,” Mourinho said. “I had to understand the difference between working with a boy like Frank Lampard who, at the age of 23, was already a man — who thought football, work, professionalism — and the new boys today, who at the age of 23 are kids.
“Today I call them ‘boys’ and not ‘men’. Because I think that they are brats and that everything that surrounds them does not help them in their life nor in my work. I had to adjust to all of that.”
The use of an image showing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner doing a mundane task that’s usually left to the equipment manager is obviously intended to ground young players that are already signing massive contracts in their teens while accumulating massive followings on social media.
The article is also effusive in its praise of academy leading light Scott McTominay. The 21-year-old has broken into the United first-team with Mourinho classifying him as a kid with “a normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches. A humble kid, who arrived at the club when he was nine or ten.”
According to Winter, “McTominay still leaves his car round the front at Carrington, rather than in the first-team car park at the back. Academy hopefuls note this too. They also see Paul Pogba strolling over to greet his old coaches. They understand the dedication and humility required to make it at Manchester United.”
The world-renowned footballing ethos of Manchester United has taken a beating since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, but that passion and pride was on full display last Saturday in the Manchester Derby — perhaps the game of the season in the EPL.
With United trailing City 2-0 at the half — a full-time result which would hand the title to the Citizens — midfielder Ander Herrera described the scene in the dressing room which led to the exhilarating 3-2 fightback:
“Everyone (spoke out). Of course the oldest guys with the most experience — Ash (Young), Mike (Carrick) was in the dressing room — they have the power in their words but everyone was talking. We didn’t talk too much about tactics, just about our pride and about the club — this club you can never underestimate it.”
And so a couple weeks after showing up at U-7 and U-8 training sessions at Manchester City’s academy and probably inspiring that generation to greatness, it’s now been revealed that Messi has a similar daily impact at United. His greatness knows no bounds.