When Jose Mourinho was presented before the media as Manchester United for the first time last May he ferociously defended his record against a long held criticism of promoting academy players to first-team duty, claiming to have given 49 youngsters their break in his time.
He was widely mocked as critics pointed out that number would have included the likes of Lenny Pidgeley and Jimmy Smith at Chelsea, now with Hastings United and Crawley Town respectively.
It was a genuine concern of United fans in summer that Mourinho's preference for established senior players would count against teenage talent Marcus Rashford and curtail his marvellous early development.
But while Rashford understandably hasn't played quite such a prominent role this season after the summer arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there has still always been a place for the home-grown favourite in the manager's thoughts.
Mourinho put his faith in 19-year-old Rashford on Sunday when he opted for explosive pace to try and exploit Chelsea's weakness. He was repaid almost instantly as Rashford scored within the opening seven minutes and was a constant thorn in the visitors' side all day.
And when comparing Mourinho's use of teenagers in the Premier League this season to the other managers of the division's top clubs, there is actually no question as to who has put the most faith in young talent this season.
Between Rashford and Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Mourinho has given a total of 1,445 Premier League minutes to teenagers this season. That is not only the most of all the top clubs, but more than double all the others combined as well.
Teenagers have played 414 minutes in the Premier League for Pep Guardiola across town at Manchester City this season, coming from Kelechi Iheanacho (before he celebrated his 20th birthday in early October), Gabriel Jesus and Aleix Garcia.
At Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and Ovie Ejaria have combined to play 242 minutes of Premier League action for Jurgen Klopp.
While Tottenham have a young squad, Josh Onomah's 18 total minutes is all that Mauricio Pochettino has given in terms of teenage minutes this season, while 19-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles has played just a single Premier League minute for Arsenal so far in 2016/17.
Chelsea's title charge under Antonio Conte is yet to feature a single teenage player at all. Ola Aina is the youngest to have made a league appearance this season, doing so for the first time against Leicester a week after turning 20, while 19-year-old contract rebel Dominic Solanke has been relegated to the Under-23 squad after failing to impress in training.
How the Top Club Managers Have Used Teenage Players in the Premier League:
|Manager||Teenage Players||Minutes Played|
|Jose Mourinho||Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah||1,445|
|Pep Guardiola||Kelechi Iheanacho, Gabriel Jesus, Aleix Garcia||414|
|Jurgen Klopp||Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria||242|
|Mauricio Pochettino||Josh Onomah||18|
|Arsene Wenger||Ainsley Maitland-Niles||1|
Calculated using official data available from the Premier League website.
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