Alan Hansen first uttered the phrase 'You can't win anything with kids' on an episode of Match of the Day in 1995. Fast-forward 25 years and new Dundee United manager Micky Mellon is hoping to debunk that myth entirely.

In fact, it's a quote from another high-profile English Premier League legend that Mellon hopes to try and link to his own stars at Tannadice this season. Manchester United icon Sir Matt Busby famously said, 'If you're good enough, you're old enough'. And the former Tranmere Rovers boss agrees.

Mellon plans to give his youngsters an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a space in his first-team. Everyone on the training pitch this week is being handed their crack at it. That's because, Mellon says, the kids are soaking up his tactical advice like sponges, and there is already plenty of technically gifted teenagers in the United ranks. It's a clean slate.

"As a schoolboy, I came to Dundee United," Mellon said. "As anybody would tell you round about that time, Dundee United’s youth policy was probably the best in Scotland. It produced some unbelievable players and that was part of me coming up here a lot and playing for Dundee United teams in terms of S-Forms and playing against other teams, I did that many times, as everybody else did at that time.

"I always, when I go into a football club, find out as much about the group as I can. I've watched loads of games now of Dundee United and seen all the different styles of play and the personnel that have been in there. I'll spend my time wisely trying to do that. Then I've watched them in training and watched them doing certain things that experienced managers are able to watch, see and find out about people as quickly as they can.

"That's how we'll grow it. I'll look with my own eyes. I've been brilliantly impressed by the enthusiasm of some of these young players, there's some unbelievable talent here. We're going to have to be careful as to how we nurture that and give it space to grow because there's so much talent here.

"Lawrence [Shankland], he has done terrific here and is going to get better and better but there's a lot of talent here, players who I will give opportunities here and time to grow and when, if they get good enough, which we'll work very hard to make sure they can achieve, we'll make sure there's room for them to blossom into the team. The talent in training is there for everyone to see and I really mean that. The enthusiasm and desire, they want to learn, they grasp onto every word you say and try to achieve that. The technical ability has been really pleasing.

"There's a lot of young talent here and I don't really care what age they are. If they can come in and make an impact in the first-team then we'll use them.

"I know I'll need to form an opinion quite quickly because the season starts in three or four weeks, but that's already started in my mind where I'm looking at them, watching them perform and we'll have a good opportunity against three or four premiership teams to see where they're at, where they're up to and how much growth they'll need to do. What we all hope is that maybe they'll all be ready, so lets give them the opportunity to show us that."

Should Mellon need improvements to his squad, he believes he'll be backed in the transfer market moving forward. Again, though, it's not like he's chomping at the bit to go on a spending spree. The 48-year-old is willing to give the current crop of players - Championship winners last season - the chance to make sure they stay in the team this season.

But he does have a decent track record with signing players who have gone on to play at some big clubs. On budget assurances, he said: "It’s a bit early and a bit unfair on the champions of the Championship. They deserve great respect. It’s been a great shame they haven’t been able to celebrate that.

"In terms of recruitment and bringing players in I’ll give the players here the opportunity. I’ll take my time with that. Assurances is a strong word but certainly Dundee United is a club would have the ability to go out and if I can bring players that would make Dundee United a better team then Dundee United would have the ability to go and do that. They’d have the ability to go into the market and bring players in that could make the team better.

If the need is there for me to go and do that and the opportunity to bring players in from other places I believe is a good fit for the culture of the club and making the team better then absolutely we would have the ability to do that and the owner has told me he’d back me as has Tony Asghar and I’m happy with that.

"I had Connor Goldson. We had him [at Shrewsbury] and developed him into a fantastic centre-back and sold him to Brighton for millions. You take your time with them and see what they need to get better at. It was the same with [Jamie] Vardy, [John] Stones and these kind of guys."