'I'm sure Adnan Januzaj is a millionaire... but he should have been a superstar'
"Thousands of players have come through this club that had more talent in their little finger than I ever had."
Nicky Butt has no issues admitting that he was never the most talented of the Manchester United squads he was in. Still, he ended up playing 387 times for United and won six league titles and a European Cup over 12 seasons.
Butt is one of the fabled 'Class of '92' that produced the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and David Beckham. He is now working with the United academy and is head of first-team development for the club.
Sunday's league game against Everton is the 4,000th straight game, dating all the way back to 1937, that United have included at least one academy graduate in their matchday squad.
In the lead-up to that match, Butt sat down with ESPN to discuss what it takes for talented young players to make the grade at the 20-time league champions. "I got to where I did because of something else," he notes. "It can't just be talent; there has to be a lot more."
"Talent gets you through the gate here but what will keep you here is character and commitment," Butt added.
"With Scott (McTominay) and Brandon (Williams), that's just character. Character with talent and not talent with character. It's a never-say-die attitude, a will to win. They are both talented footballers, but to get to where they have got is down to their attitude."
Reflecting on his playing and coaching days with United, Butt named one player who he felt could have done so much more. "For me," he said, "the biggest disappointment at this club was Adnan Januzaj,
"I don't think I've seen a player, probably since Ryan Giggs, who was as good as that. He was unbelievable. In my eyes he should have gone on to be a world superstar.
"He's still playing professional football [with Real Sociedad] and he will have a good career. I'm sure he's a millionaire and he won't be going to bed worrying about what bills he's got to pay, but he should have been a superstar."
Interestingly enough, those comments echo Michael Owens when he spoke about Brazilian midfielder Anderson.
As for Januzaj, he has been with Sociedad since 2017/18 and has three assists in 12 appearances this season. He came off the bench in his side's 2-2 draw with Barcelona on Saturday.