MANCHESTER UNITED legend Nicky Butt has quit as head of first-team development for a "new challenge" after coaching at Old Trafford for nine years. 

The former England midfielder, 46, who won six Premier League titles as a United player, leaves amid an overhaul of United's technical department.

Butt helped bring current first-teamers like Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe, Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood through United's famous academy.

And Butt told the club's official website: “Having come through the Academy myself to play almost 400 games for Manchester United, it has been an absolute privilege to come back and work with a new generation of talent making that same journey.

“I’m proud of the role everyone on the staff plays in giving our young footballers the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential.

"The results are clear to see in the increased number of homegrown players reaching the first team.

“I already know from my playing days how difficult it is to leave Manchester United.

"But it feels like the right moment for a new professional challenge.

"I look forward to exploring opportunities that build on the great experiences I’ve had here over the past nine years.”

United recently appointed John Murtough as football director and Darren Fletcher as technical director.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskajer, for so long Butt's playing team-mate at Old Trafford, told United's website: “Nicky will always be a legend of Manchester United as a six-time Premier League winner and, of course, an integral part of our Treble-winning team.

"That pedigree has made him a great source of guidance and inspiration to our Academy players since he returned to the club.

“We are all going to miss him around the Aon Training Complex but Nicky knows he will always be welcome back.”

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United's academy head Nick Cox said: "He has been central to the work that has been done to strengthen the Academy in recent seasons and his unique perspective as a former Academy graduate has been a constant reminder to us all to remain committed to the club’s incredible history whilst constantly striving to innovate and improve.

“While we are sorry to see him go, Nicky’s legacy will continue in the many young players that remain in our programme that he has helped to identify, inspire and develop.

"It is this that will ensure that the pathway from Academy to First team continues for many years to come.”

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