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A whole new team

"It's a totally new side so while everybody says United are the holders, we're not really the holders at this level. None of that team is really here anymore. It's like United winning the adult FA Cup and then Sir Alex selling everybody and starting again!"
- David Stowell, MUTV 
28/11/2011 17:38, Report by David Stowell, MUTV
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Blog: Physical education

I've been covering Academy games for five years now, it was October 2006 when I joined MUTV.

It's really interesting to watch the kids playing and those that have come up through the ranks in the last few years. You see how they develop - some of them get taken on and some don't. Sometimes the ones you expect to make it don't do so simply because they've been unlucky with the people ahead of them in the pecking order. I really enjoy the job, not just watching United but the youngsters from all around the country.

You get the idea of other sides - for instance, what Arsenal might look like or Chelsea, teams like that. For example, in the first year of covering the FA Youth Cup, I saw Kieran Gibbs play against United at the Emirates when he played in midfield for Arsenal. So you do see young kids first, even if they're not always our kids.

Torquay will be a difficult game on Friday. I know from my connections down in Devon how excited they are about this opportunity to come and try to cause a real shock in knocking United out. At this age, surprises can happen a bit more often than during the adult game. Sometimes it's more about physique rather than ability. I think back to a few years ago and we lost 1-0 to Stoke City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup despite having the likes of Gerard Pique, Jonny Evans, Danny Simpson and Giuseppe Rossi in the team.

One of them has gone on to win the World Cup and most of them have made their name in the Barclays Premier League and beyond, so it's not always an indication of how good or bad a team is.

Maybe teams can be more physical than United and I know, looking at Torquay's squad, that they have a couple of big lads who could have a bit of a say in the game. We have very technical players who are also quite sleight so it could be a factor. People say we're the holders but the team that won it last year was fantastic and a very balanced team.

Gary Neville said in commentary on the final that last season's side was the most physical United youth team he's ever seen. We had Paul Pogba and Ryan Tunnicliffe in the middle

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