Derek Langley was also responsible for signing the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Gerard Pique and Danny Welbeck, and he feels that having frank conversations with the powers that be about the reliability and aptitude of several people at the club led to him being sacked.
The 68-year-old was at the Old Trafford for 16 years as head of youth recruitment, and revealed that he had also recommended the Dutch pair to United chiefs before being unceremoniously dismissed from his job in 2016.
De Jong and De Ligt have now become two of the hottest prospects in the game, and Langley noted his disappointment at not beng taken seriously by the club didn’t take.
In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, he said: “Players that they turned down? Matthijs de Ligt. We had God knows how many reports on Matthijs de Ligt. Frenkie de Jong and all these players now are sort of around Europe. Dayot Upamecano, who is now at Red Bull Leipzig, was another.
“This was one of the reasons why I had a meeting with Ed Woodward and I told him that I wasn’t convinced with the competency of certain people at the club. I told Ed Woodward quite straight: ‘If you think I’m going to sit here and just tell you what you want to hear, I’m not that man because I’m going to tell you exactly how I see it.’”
Langley added that it was the heart-to-heart conversations he had with the club’s higher-ups that led to him being let go seven months later.
He said: “I think it was possibly part of my downfall as to why seven months down the line I was removed because I wouldn’t tow the line in relation to telling them exactly what I thought. It’s one of those things in football – you come to accept it. Manchester United thanked me for the time I spent there and the players I’d taken in, but ultimately we could have been so much better if people had listened.”
Derek Langley recent comments shows us how badly run our club is. #mufc
— Aidan Walsh ? (@AidanWalshMUFC) December 10, 2018
Langley was also key to scouting the likes of current first team members Rashford and Lingard, apart from bringing in the likes of Pique and Welbeck. And despite United’s scouting network trebling in size — with more than 58 scouts deployed around the world — since his departure, Langley believes his legacy will live on thanks to current hot prospect Tahith Chong coming through the ranks.
One cannot be sure if these are quote of just another disgruntled employee, or if it actually is true. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if what Langley alleges is true, for the structure at United has been a mess ever since Sir Alex Ferguson departed, and Woodward has been unable to have much of a positive influence when it comes to scouting and building a successful senior team.
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