THE ACADEMY

"There are all sort of issues to resolve to make it as good as possible. We have to comply and make observations as we go along."

- Brian McClair, ManUtd.com

Summary of Under-21 changes

15/08/2012 11:02, Report by Adam Marshall
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McClair handles changes

Academy manager Brian McClair admits it will take United time to adapt to the new Barclays Premier League youth shake-up, particularly the logistics involved in the new set-up.

The Reds announced fixtures for the Under-21 and Under-18 teams recently but the administration involved has proved difficult with trips to organise to as far north as Newcastle on Tyneside and Southampton on the South Coast. The plans were pushed forward in time for the 2012/2013 campaign and will clearly impact on the youth system at Carrington.

"One thing when there are new rules is that they take a little while for people to comprehend what's gone on," McClair explained in an exclusive interview with ManUtd.com. "I think a lot of things happen in the off-season when most people are having a break so, when we start coming towards the start of the games programme, people pay a bit more attention to what the rules are now.

"It's been decided to have an interim programme for the Under-16s, Under-18s and Under-21s because all the youth development systems in England are going through new categorisation, which involves independent auditing of the clubs. There were 23 who applied for Category One status but the audit is not going to be finished until the end of September. Therefore, they came up with the idea of having an interim games programme including all the clubs who applied.

"So, for this year, 23 clubs have applied for Category One and the games programme for those age-groups, 18s and 21s are compulsory, but the 16s was voluntary, so the Premier League decided they would have three groups and there was a draw made and that's why there are games all over England.

"I think the travel is one of the things people are only starting to realise in the last couple of weeks. People are appreciating the logistics of it when we have Southampton in our group and also have Sunderland and Newcastle, as well as Spurs and Watford."

The new plan can perhaps be considered as a work-in-progress with more input expected from the clubs as experience is

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