Academy coaching update

Friday 13 August 2021 14:56

Ahead of the 2021/22 season, Manchester United has announced a new coaching staff structure for the Academy’s Professional Development Phase.

An increasingly flexible coaching structure will be implemented across the age group (U17-U23) to support the individual development needs of each player.

Travis Binnion is the club’s new Under-18s lead coach, with Neil Ryan moving up to assist Neil Wood with the Under-23s. Colin Little will continue in his role as Under-18s assistant coach.

Travis was formerly coach of the Under-16s but is with the Under-18s this term.
Newly appointed head of player development and coaching (U17-23), Justin Cochrane, will oversee the programme across the phase. He will work closely with Wood and Binnion to provide each player with experiences that will help them to play professional football at the highest level possible.

Mark Dempsey will lead the core coaching team across the Academy, working to educate and mentor the club’s world-class group of development coaches as well as establishing individualised plans to maximise player potential.

Binnion, who will also continue in his role as head of player development and coaching (U14-U16), was previously United’s Under-16s lead coach. He will continue to work with a large part of the group of players who will begin their scholarships this season.

Previously, Binnion was Academy manager at Sheffield United, where he worked with current United captain Harry Maguire, and a number of other now senior international players.

The coaching group will continue to build on the Academy success of last season, in which graduates contributed over 25 per cent of first-team minutes and five homegrown players made their debuts for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Head of Academy Nick Cox said: ‘Throughout the Academy, we have always looked to appoint best-in-class coaching staff. This new structure is the ideal blend of long-standing club staff coupled with outstanding external appointments who together will implement our individualised development programme.

“It has been pleasing to see so many of our players play above their age groups in recent years. Our Under-18s and Under-23s sides have become increasingly fluid, with players regularly featuring for both teams. This range of experiences and game scenarios ultimately provides the best platform for players to reach their potential.

“We have a fantastic group of dedicated expert staff working across the Professional Development Phase. Between them they will work passionately to further enhance the Academy’s ability to produce world-class players capable of excelling in the first-team."

Justin Cochrane joined the club as head of player development and coaching.
Professional Development Phase coaching group:

Travis Binnion – Under-18s lead coach and head of player development and coaching (U14-U16)
Justin Cochrane – Head of player development and coaching (U17-U23)
Mark Dempsey – Senior Academy coach
Alan Fettis – Head of Academy goalkeeping
Colin Little – Under-18s assistant coach
Paul McShane – Playing coach
Neil Ryan – Under-23s assistant coach
Kevin Wolfe – Academy goalkeeping coach
Neil Wood – Under-23s lead coach