If you were born after 1998 then congratulations, this stat is more of a history lesson than a reason to remind you how old you’re getting. Eric Cantona is one of the Man United greats and played his last game for Sir Alex Ferguson towards the end of the 96/97 season.
You might remember that moment, what’s guaranteed is at least six of tonight’s starting Xi wont because they hadn’t even been born yet:
Six members of @ManUtd starting line-up were born after Eric Cantona played his last game for club.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) September 19, 2019
Its a testament to how quickly time passes, but also to the work that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done in trying to get the younger players involved with the first team. Louis Van Gaal doesn’t get the credit he deserves for bringing the younger players on, but Jose Mourinho showed he had no intention of following suit.
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I recently learned during a conversation with a United youth coach that Ferguson established a long tradition of the first team training on the pitch next to the youth teams. It gave a visible proof of everybody being part of the same club, and would really inspire the youngsters.
One of the first things Mourinho did was abolish that and ensure the first team did everything away from the kids. It killed the culture at the club and it showed with only Scott McTominay forcing his way through.
Solskjaer has changed that since taking over, his team tonight was littered with exciting young players and notably featured a start for Mason Greenwood.
To a lot of these players Cantona will simply be a legendary older player who they never watched play. His genius will live on forever and is well worth a watch on youtube if you want to distract yourself from thinking about where all those years have gone.