Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho told the club’s U19s squad that Victor Lindelof would become the ‘next big player’ at Old Trafford before his exit from the Theatre of Dreams.
Lindelof, 27, joined United from Benfica in a £30m deal in 2017 and he’s made 168 appearances for the Red Devils in his five seasons at the club.
Mourinho signed the Swede during his second summer at the club and the Swede has remained a regular under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since the Portuguese’s departure from Old Trafford in December 2018.
However, United have spent big on Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane since Mourinho’s departure, which has led to Lindelof being demoted.
That was not the plan for Mourinho, with Nicky Butt revealing that the Roma boss had high hopes that Lindelof would become the ‘next big player’ at the club.
Speaking about working under different United managers during his time as academy boss, Butt told the Athletic: ‘And then Jose (Mourinho) came in. Again, an unbelievable character. I was his academy manager so I wondered what it would be like. The reality was that he spoke to me every single morning at breakfast.
‘He asked me about young players, he was approachable, he was helpful. He was single-minded and selfish – and whether you like it or not, that’s what the best managers are.
‘He would ask me which players I wanted to move up. He asked, “Who is this kid Greenwood?” when Mason was 15. “Bring him to train with us”, and I said, “We can’t, because he’s at school and there are rules and regulations.” I pushed Scott McTominay and explained that he was a good kid who he’d like; one who was aggressive, can run and pass. Jose had him training and Scott never looked back.
‘Jose sat with the under-19s ahead of a trip to Portugal. He told them what to expect, he said that Victor Lindelof will be the next big player. Jose was good and, for an elite manager with his record, he was very, very good with me.’
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