United’s Under-18s have been experimenting with different formations in recent weeks as the Reds youngsters prepare for possible life in the first-team.
Under instruction from Sir Alex Ferguson, U18s coach Paul McGuinness has been breaking free from the standard 4-4-2 set-up as part of the Academy players’ football education.
In the Reds’ recent 2-1 win over Crewe Alexandra, United lined up in a 4-3-3 system. And while there are still a few things to iron out, McGuinness is pleased with the way his players adapted.
“We tried something a bit different,” he says. “It takes some getting used to, but it is all part of the learning process. The manager, Sir Alex, certainly wants us to do it as part of the boys’ education.
“We had some really good passages of play,” he added. “There are aspects we will work on so the players know exactly how to play that system.
"There will be more occasions this season where we will try and play using different formations because, ultimately, we have to prepare players for the first-team, where sometimes alternative systems and formations are required to deal with different opponents."