“[...] One thing is youth football, one thing is professional football.” — José Mourinho
What one can deduct from this José Mourinho quote is a reluctance towards playing youth players infact even the special one would accept he has a nonexistent youth policy. Though it’s also a boulevard of broken dreams for the youth players who do get some form of game time under Mourinho.
Mourinho’s two Champions League triumphs were built on the back of seasoned professionals with the average age of Porto’s 2004-2005 wining starting line up being 27 and the average age of Inter Milan’s 2009-2010 winning starting line up being 30. The youngest player of the 2004-2005 winning Porto starting line up was breakout 19 year old Brazilian Carlos Alberto who became the second youngest goalscorer in a Champions League final after Patrick Kluivert. Kluivert would go onto play for A.C. Milan and Barcelona whilst Carlos Alberto has become a journeyman playing for eight different clubs.
Mourinho didn’t start a teenager for a single game in Chelsea’s 2004-2005 English Premier League winning side though he did give teenagers Filipe Oliveira and Anthony Grant symbolic minutes. Oliveira didn’t play a single league game for Parma in 2010 and is now on loan at Torino. Grant is playing League Two football for Southend United.
Like the season before, Mourinho again didn’t start a teenager for a single game in Chelsea’s 2005-2006 English Premier League winning side. 18 year old Jimmy Smith managed symbolic minutes in the final game of the season and is now playing League One football for Leyton Orient.
The youngest player in Inter Milan’s 2009-2010 Champions League winning starting line up was Wesley Sneijder at 25! Which is quite remarkable given Mourinho had teenage prodigies Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon in the squad. Both players incurred the wrath of Mourinho and were routinely benched or left out of the squad. Balotelli moved to the goldmines at Eastlands and has since done more talking than playing. Whilst Santon’s confidence is inconceivably damaged having been shipped out to Cesena (on loan) whilst being replaced by exciting Japanese wingback Yuto Nagatomo.
Mourinho’s nonexistent youth policy continues at Real Madrid with teenage starlets Sergio Canales and Álvaro Morata wondering if they’ll ever get an extended run in the team.
About the Author
Written by Allan Jiang
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