Tom Huddlestone names four Man Utd youngsters who Sir Jim Ratcliffe should build transfer strategy around

The former Premier League midfielder has been working as a coach with Man Utd's youngsters in recent years.

Tom Huddlestone believes Manchester United can build success by surrounding their promising academy talents with experienced heads in the transfer market.

United's transfer policy has been hit-and-miss in the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement and Erik ten Hag has overseen only a slight improvement since taking charge in 2022. The Dutchman has spent more than £400million in three full windows but a lack of clear strategy has produced mixed results.

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The majority of United's recent signings have been players with a direct past link to Ten Hag but the £70m purchase of a 30-year-old Casemiro on a four-year deal was an obvious outlier. Sir Jim Ratcliffe will hope to bring more cohesion at the club with new hires in key roles and Huddlestone, who is currently a player/coach with the under-21s, believes a return to trusting youth talent is needed but experienced help is also necessary.

"I think you need a mix. I don't think you can do one or the other [buy potential or players in their prime]," Huddlestone told talkSPORT. "You've seen your Paris Saint-Germain's try and do it with more senior players and it has not quite happened and apart from when Sir Alex did it [blood academy players] in the 1990s with a really young squad, I don't think we have seen it since.

"If you can get a bit of experience through the spine of the team and blending that with Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho, Willy Kambwala, Dan Gore, they've been in and around the first-team this season, I think you can get a lot of success that way." Ten Hag has come under increasing pressure this season, having overseen no palpable improvement despite having a squad that is widely his own. United's best player so far has been Scott McTominay, who was up for sale all summer, while Garnacho and Mainoo were both already at the club as academy prospects when he arrived.

But United have been unfortunate with injuries, losing key players regularly such as Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro. And Huddlestone has backed the Dutchman to turn things around with a fully fit squad.

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"I know the league position is not where the club want to be but I think things are on the right trajectory," Huddlestone added. "I think the manager has got good ideas and you saw it in patches last year that the lads are buying into that.

"You've almost got six or seven players that realistically would be in the starting XI. But that gets brushed under the carpet if the results aren't going well. I think the lads seem to be buying into the manager's ideas and patience is needed with a lot of managers and it will be interesting to see as and when he's got a fully fit squad of his signings."