Manchester United using Lionel Messi example to inspire players

Manchester United using Lionel Messi example to inspire players Manchester United using Lionel Messi example to inspire players

Manchester United are using Lionel Messi to inspire their young generation of academy stars. Well, not literally. However, the Red Devils have put up a photograph of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner on the walls of their dressing room to teach the young kids a lesson – a lesson in humility.

Messi is seen cleaning his own boots in the picture and the message is all too clear. If he is not too big to clean his own boots then neither should you.

The Argentine along with former United star Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the greatest players to have graced the football pitch ever and United have certainly found a creative way to get through to their youngsters.

The picture – taken after a friendly between Argentina and Croatia at Upton Park in 2014 is one that should send out the requisite message that talent alone can’t take one to the top and needs a potent dose of humility, discipline and hard work.

We would have to say that the 20-time English champions have hit the jackpot when it comes to giving their young gems a timely and genuine reminder what it would take to break into Jose Mourinho’s first team.

The club’s head of youth development, John Murtagh, says developing the character of the youngsters is as important as creating footballers at the Premier League club.

"We have the footballing values here of attacking, free-flowing, exciting football and, as people, you want humility, an honest, hardworking person, someone who's respectful," Murtagh explained to The Times.

Former United midfielder Nicky Butt, now a coach at the club's academy, however doesn’t want the player to be too concerned about the image though.

"Everyone wants to be a No.10 now, a Messi," he said. "That's good because they all want to play the right football but people can't forget how good Roy Keane and Steven Gerrard were; these box-to-box players that aren't the modern academy [product now]. Academies are developing too many similar players."