New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that he groomed Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi as he was among 55 players he promoted during his career as manager.
On his first official press conference as boss of the Old Trafford side, the Portuguese told reporters that he has promoted 49 youngsters contrary to the wide spread believe that he hardly play greenhorns in his team.
The former Real Madrid coach went ahead to release the names of the 49 players and added six more that were under 21 when he bought them.
Mourinho signed Mikel for £16 million signing in June 2006 from Norwegian side Lyn Oslo after a tussle with premier league rivals Manchester United, the Nigerian later turnout a huge success under the 53-year-old.
The 29-year-old wasn’t the only Nigerian on the list as Dominic Solanke also made the cut.
Mourinho also claimed to have promoted six players from FC Porto, Carlos Alberto, Bruno Morais, Pedro Oliveira, Reinaldo Garcia, Joca and Hugo Luz;Diogo Luis and Geraldo Alves from Benfica; Nuno Laranjeiro and Joao Paulo Andrade during his spell at Uniao Leiria.
Other Chelsea players he promoted includes Arjen Robben, Lassana Diarra, Sam Hutchinson, Jimmy Smith, Michael Woods, Anthony Grant, Ben Sahar, Steven Watt, Lenny Pidgeley, Kurt Zouma, Lewis Baker, Dominic Solanke, John Swift, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Bertrand Traore.
At Inter Milan Mourinho listed Davide Santon, Marko Arnautovic, Alen Stevanovic, Mario Balotelli, Luca Caldirola, Giulio Donati and Rene Krhin.
For Real Madrid he named Raphael Varane, Alvaro Morata, Casemiro, Nacho, Jese,Joselu,Tomas Mejias, Omar Mascarel, Fabinho, Pedro Mendes, Jose Rodriguez, Denis Cherishev and Pablo Sarabia.
Others are Juan Carlos, Diego Lorente, Alex Fernandez, David Mateos, Jesus Fernandez Collado, Antonio Adan, Fernando Pacheco Flores and Jorge Casado.
While he inevitably has given young players a chance at all his clubs, it is hard to say he has turned any academy players into first team regulars himself.
Most of them hardly featured under the Special One, and those who did flourished more after he left.