A famous football commentator in England once reported that teams ‘never win anything with youth’.

He made the comments on national television in the UK shortly after Manchester United had been comprehensively beaten on the opening day of the seasons against a mid-table team.

The comment was heavily publicised over the subsequent weeks and seemed to galvanise Manchester United.

The team went on to not only win the league that season but to embark on arguably their most successful period in their history, culminating in a European Cup win a few years later.

The youngsters in question included now household names such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers.

I was reminded of those comments when leafing through this issue of Glass International.

Two young faces have contributed immensely to the glass industry this month in varying roles. Giorgio Minestrini was named winner of the best paper at the Furnace Solutions event.

The engineer from Italy provided a paper about the Prime Glass project, which, alongside colleagues from Stara Glass and Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro (SSV) aimed to contain NOx in regenerative end port furnaces used in glassmaking.

The project helped reduce NOx by between 30/40% - a tremendous achievement for which credit should go to all involved in the project.

The second young face is that of Marie Lurquin, an engineer from SGD Pharma who helped lead the recent Furnace number 2 project at its Saint Quentin La Motte site in northern France.

She was named Godmother of the new furnace thanks to her work in leading the successful project.

Mme Lurquin has only been working in the industry for a few years but hopefully she has a bright future ahead of her.

It is young people such as Giorgio and Marie who are the future of the industry and who can point the way forward.

It is well known there are not enough young people in the industry and entering the industry.

There have been concerns expressed at recent glassmaking conferences that only older, experienced engineers have attended.

Conference organisers have questioned why young engineers have not been given permission to attend. What does the future hold for an industry that does not invest in its youth?

Hopefully both Giorgio and Marie, in their own small way, can provide an inspiration for other youngsters to follow their example.

Pictured: Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in youth was justified at Manchester United.