United have been accused of failing in the scouting department ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford, although the arrivals of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James for over £140million have started to redress the balance.
The United chief has said he wants the recruitment under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be judged in the “coming windows” and has admitted that the system to identify talent was fundamentally wrong.
Woodward told United We Stand via Goal: “The system wasn’t set up in the right way. Twelve scouts reporting to one chief scout was more set up to say no — too many exceptions to the process were made historically while this was being fixed.
“We also have to hold our hands up and say that recruitment wasn’t at its best in recent years. We feel that we now know who our best scouts are.
“The idea is to recruit in a closed environment, rather than listening to the press or getting distracted by conflicting agents’ claims. We try and make cold decisions based on information.
“Judge the recruitment department in the coming windows where hopefully we can get a team to be at the level we want to be.”
Woodward, who also revealed United are more robust in their recruitment, has also insisted that he does not have any influence regarding signing players other than “signing off the money”, with decisions made by “football experts”.
Woodward added: “The decisions related to recruitment are all taken by football experts. My involvement is signing off the money.
“The manager has a veto on a player – we would never sign a player the manager wouldn’t want because he wouldn’t play him. But we also feel the recruitment department, the football experts, should have a veto too.
“I don’t get involved in recruitment like people think I do. There’s a myth that I look at YouTube and choose players. I don’t. Having an eye for players is an art. I have no interest in doing that.
“I just want to have a disciplined process because if you are spending a lot of money on a player you have to make sure you get more right than wrong.
“Where I get involved is that I have to sign off the money, yet when you have target one, two or three from your process I feel fine going after the number one target and, if it’s not to be him, then number two or three.”
Woodward has also cleared up the Phil Jones ‘telling off incident’.