In his first full season as a professional footballer, Oliver Gill caught the eye and earned a nomination for the 2009/10 Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award. The 19-year-old met ManUtd.com at Carrington to discuss his hopes for the new season...
Are you enjoying being back in training?
The first couple of weeks were very tough, a lot of running and even the ballwork involved a lot of running, just to build up your base fitness. You expect that, though, and now we've had a couple of games the actual physical work we undergo is less, which is good. All the players were given fitness programmes for the close-season, which were useful. You can't just go into pre-season training having done nothing for seven weeks.
Is it true you had to make a decision between football and education?
Yeah, I had the offer of a university place at Durham starting in September and I could have studied Economics, but I've decided to continue playing football.
(Academy manager Brian McClair walks past and shouts: "Take the money!")
(Laughs) Yeah, the money on offer was too good, so rather than be a poor student I decided to carry on playing! I went to see the university and they said they'd defer it, so I still have the option of doing that if I want to. The PFA have also help me set up something with distance learning, so I'll be doing that this year. I'm in the process of registering for that now. That'll be a few hours a week and it shouldn't be too hard to find a few spare hours.
What have you made of the Reserves' pre-season games so far?
The first two were quite pleasing, really. The first few games are always going to be tough because you haven't played for a while, but we had two convincing wins, lost on Saturday at Yeovil and they've all been good games for our fitness too. In general I think our quality was good as well. We've got quite an intensive pre-season set up for us, building up with the quality of opposition and next up we're at Oxford (on Tuesday), and have a few more games from there.
How talented are the new crop of young players in the squad?
There are some very talented players coming through, as people will have seen watching them in the Academy team. A lot of the third years played a lot of Reserve football last year anyway, so they're already used to the required