Nick Cox - Director of Academy
Three years after his arrival at United, Nick Cox was promoted to the Head of Academy role in 2019. Nick oversees the entire development programme, which begins with the Under-9s and concludes with the Under-21s.
Prior to joining United, Nick was involved in the development of Watford’s youngsters for 12 years and also spent time in the Academy system of Sheffield United.
Academy Leadership Team
By representing each area of the Academy programme, our leadership team is accountable for the positive environment that we create for our young players.
Nick Cox - Director of Academy
Steve Higham – Head of Academy Operations
Jen Mildenhall – Emerging Talent Programme Manager
Jarrad Ince – Pre-Academy Manager
Travis Binnion – Head of Player Development and Coaching
Neil Gittins – Head of Player Development (U9s – U12s)
Adam Lawrence – Head of Player Development (U13s – U16s)
Matt Walker - Head of Academy Performance
Ian Smithson – Head of Education
Dan Ransom - Academy Psychology
Luke Fedorenko - Head of Academy Recruitment
Dave Bushell – Academy Programme Advisor
Mark Dempsey -Academy Programme Advisor
Eamon Mulvey - Academy Programme Advisor
Tony Whelan – Academy Programme Advisor
Travis Binnion - Head of Player Development and Coaching
Travis Binnion oversees the development of every Academy player aged 17-21, included those who go out on loan to other clubs. He was made lead coach of our Under-18s in 2021, two years after he began his role as United Academy’s Head of Player Development. Travis became the lead coach of the Under-21s for the beginning of the 2023/24 season, and coaches and manages our youngsters on the final step of their development journey.
Prior to his work with the Reds, Binnion was connected to Sheffield United for 20 years, representing the Blades as a player and going on to be the manager of their Academy team from 2016 to 2019.
Adam Lawrence - Head of Player Development (U13-U16)
Adam Lawrence took charge of United's Under-18s for the 2023/24 season, having previously been lead coach of the Under-16s for two years. Alongside this, he continues his role as Head of Player Development for our Under-13s to Under-16s, to ensure a smooth transition for players as they begin their scholarships.
Prior to his role at United, Lawrence had previously worked within Millwall's youth system as well as spending eight years nurturing youngsters at Charlton Athletic, first as a lead coach of the Under-13s to Under-16s age range and then as their Head of Coaching (Under-9s to Under-23s).
Mark Dempsey - Senior Academy Coach
Mark Dempsey mentors staff and supports players across the age groups to ensure individuals reach their potential. He also works closely with players out on loan and take an active role in player recruitment.
A youth product of United himself, Mark spent 10 years as a coach in his first tenure in our Academy. Previously an assistant to former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at both Molde and United, Dempsey returned to the Academy in 2019 and became lead coach of our Under-21s in 2022. He moved into his current role at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Tom Huddlestone - U21s player-coach
Former Premier League midfielder Tom Huddlestone is part of our Under-21s’ coaching staff, and also plays for the young Reds too. Tom plied his trade at the highest level for two decades before arriving at United, playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Wolves Hull City and Derby County between 2002 and 2022.
Huddlestone now coaches our Under-21s, and is often part of Mark Dempsey's matchday squads, imparting experience on the youngsters who are coming through the ranks.
Paul McShane - Academy coach
Paul McShane began his footballing career in our Academy system and won the 2003 FA Youth Cup as a young Red. He now leads the Under-15s, having previously worked across our youth teams from Under-16s to Under-21s as a coach, using the knowledge he gained as a Premier League footballer.
McShane played for Sunderland, Hull City and Reading in the top-flight and also has a wealth of experience in the Championship too, using this to help our youngsters to prepare for senior football. He accepted a role within Republic of Ireland Under-21s' backroom staff at the beginning of the 2023/24 season, but continues his as the Academy's Under-15s lead coach alongside it.
Colin Little - Academy coach
Colin is one of our Academy coaches and has been part of our youth set-up since 2009, where he began working with the Under-13s. Colin had a long career prior to moving into coaching, making more than 200 appearances for Crewe Alexandra and Altrincham each.
Little works one a one-to-one basis with the attacking players in the Academy, having a profound impact on the likes of United's Marcus Rashford, who has played more than 300 times for the Reds to date.
Tommy Lee - Lead goalkeeping coach
Our Academy’s lead goalkeeping coach, Tommy Lee, began his career with United as a youth player and moved to Macclesfield Town in 2006. He transferred to Chesterfield in 2008 and went on to make more than 300 appearances in nine years for them.
In October 2022, Tommy was hired for his current role after spending two years as an academy goalkeeping coach at Sheffield Wednesday and a further two at Sheffield United
Dave Hughes - Academy coach
Former Aston Villa player David Hughes is part of our Professional Development Phase coaching team, having also plied his trade for Shrewsbury and Cardiff as well as representing Wales at international level.
He arrived at United in July 2022, having previously held roles as Head of Academy Coaching at both Cardiff and Southampton. Prior to his stint at Southampton, Dave coached Wales's Under-17s for four years.
Kevin Wolfe - Goalkeeping coach
Kevin Wolfe spent 10 years as Sunderland's academy goalkeeping coach before he arrived at United. Wolfe primarily works with our Under-18s, helping to develop their shot-stopping, distribution and much more.
Wolfe uses his wealth of experience to impart knowledge on our youngsters, helping to set them up for a career between the sticks at the highest level.
Our Outstanding Staff
Supporting the Under-21s and Under-18s is just one of the areas in which our team of staff thrive. Throughout each week, our coaches flexibly teach, nurture and present to our youngsters to ensure they have the best possible environment to fulfil their potential.
In addition to traditional coaching, this may include working one a one-to-one basis, looking back at video analysis, giving valuable feedback and also guiding our players to apply the correct processes every single day. Our Academy staff are truly outstanding.
Permanent Academy Staff
Martin Drury - Academy Coach
Lee Unsworth – Academy Coach
Rick Ashcroft - Academy Coach
Neil Harris - Academy Coach
Chris Simms – Academy Coach
Stuart Leicester - MANUSS Coach
Luke O'Reilly - Academy Goalkeeping Coach
Chris Backhouse - Academy Goalkeeping Coach
Tony Coyne – Academy Coach
Neil Scott – Academy Coach
Stephen Reddy – Academy Coach
Steven Crane – Academy Coach
Deane Whitehouse – Academy Coach
Wayne Cahill - Academy Education Officer
Cameron Royle – Education Tutor (Business)
Vanessa Walker – Education Tutor (Sport)
Lee Dunn - Emerging Talent Centre Manager
Scott Harris - Emerging Talent Coach
David Campbell - Emerging Talent Coach
Adam McWilliam - Emerging Talent Coach
Zoe Flanagan – Emerging Talent Coach
Les Parry - Loans Programme Manager
Danny Keough – Loan Support Officer
Louise Doherty – PA to Director of Academy
Andy Jordan - Academy Logistics Manager
Andy Pilling - Academy Administrator
Marie Beckley - Administration Assistant
Clare Nicholas – Academy Secretary
Rachel Cross - Administration Assistant
Jane Cooper – Academy Safeguarding Coordinator
Andrew Laylor – Player Support Co-ordinator
Emily Ball – Pre Academy and Emerging Talent Operation Lead
Graham Buckingham – Academy Assistant
Chris Snape - Academy Transport
Sam Voss – Academy Transport Coordinator
Graham Rothwell – Academy Transport Coordinator
Danny Ransom - Lead Academy Psychologist
Fionnuala Barnes - Academy Psychologist
Matthew Walker - Head of PDP Athletic Development
Ka-Chun Liu - Academy Sports Scientist
Luke Lawrence - Academy PDP Athletic Development Coach
Amelia Lees – Academy Athletic Development Coach
Alex Ouzounoglou - YDP Athletic Development Lead
Mike Goulden - PDP Athletic Development Coach
Robert Svenson – YDP Athletic Development Coach
Luke Dickson – Lead Performance Analyst
Curtis Quinn – Academy Performance Analyst
Alex Telford – Academy Performance Analyst
Ethan Heseltine – Academy Performance Analyst
Ryan Shorrock - Academy Performance Analyst
Aidan Adamson – Academy Performance Analyst
Steve Brown – Academy Performance Analyst (Loan Players)
Jacob Dunlop - Football Strategy & Reporting Analyst
As well as our permanent staff, there are a number of people who work for the club on a part-time and casual basis who are crucial to the way we operate and the success that we continue to have in developing young players. Together, our staff ensure that the children who join the Academy have the optimal environment in which to thrive as footballers and as people.