Mourinho trusts youth: Rashford repays boss' faith as rivals flounder
One of the many sticks to beat Jose Mourinho with is that he neglects a club's younger prospects in favour of chiselled, seasoned campaigners.
The Manchester United manager took exception to one journalist when asked about his track record at his unveiling news conference last summer and if he fancies digging back at those who doubt his faith in younger players again, he can call on a rather impressive statistic.
But Mourinho has given teenagers 1,443 minutes of football in the league this season -- a record that shames his rivals. Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham may have the youngest squad in the Premier League but he's reticent to trust the greener members of his team, awarding just 19 minutes of football to teenagers this term.
He's not the worst offender either. Look at Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger:
Minutes handed out to teenagers in the Premier League 2016-17 (includes injury time):
Statistics via ESPN Stats & Information
Antonio Conte: 0
Arsene Wenger: 6
Mauricio Pochettino: 39
Jurgen Klopp: 286
Pep Guardiola: 244
Jose Mourinho: 1,574
It's an impressive focus on youth and Mourinho was richly rewarded on Sunday as Marcus Rashford, 19, excelled -- and scored the opener -- in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Chelsea.
Here's a look at the teenage kicks each manager has enjoyed this season and how they've got on ...
Couldn't Conte at least manage giving one minute to a Chelsea teen?
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6 minutes. Entered as a late substitute in a 4-1 win at hopeless Sunderland back on Oct. 29.
Josh Onomah: 39 minutes. The 19-year-old has yet to feature earlier than the final 10 minutes in his five Premier League appearances this season.
Ovie Ejaria: 14 minutes. Ejaria, 19, appeared in the league for the first time this season when he came on in Liverpool's 6-1 thrashing of Watford on Nov.6.
Ben Woodburn: 101 minutes. The 17-year-old became Liverpool's youngest ever scorer, surpassing Michael Owen, when he scored against Leeds in the EFL Cup back in November but was hauled off at half time with the Reds 1-0 down at Stoke recently. Liverpool turned things round in his absence to win 2-1.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 171 minutes. Rising star's highlight of the season came at Old Trafford in January, when he turned in a mature display as Liverpool drew 1-1 at Manchester United.
Kelechi Ineahacho: 206 minutes. The Nigerian hopeful, who turned 20 in October, scored in the Manchester derby victory at Manchester United but has not hit the heights of last season, when he scored 15 goals in 37 appearances for club and country. He played 187 minutes as a teenager this season.
Aleix Garcia: 38 minutes. The 19-year-old has featured three times in the league this season.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: 4 minutes. Enjoyed a breakthrough 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal but has been restricted by Mourinho this season.
Marcus Rashford: 1570 minutes. Rashford, 19, was tremendous up front for United in last Sunday's 2-0 win over Chelsea, scoring for the second successive Premier League match. One of the brightest prospects in European football.
Alex Shaw is General Editor at ESPN FC. He has written for national newspapers across the world for over 12 years. Twitter: @AlexShawESPN.