Academy Weekly: International experiences and milestones
Young Manchester United players have been across the globe representing their countries this week, pausing from an exciting start to the club season to benefit from new international experiences.
Meanwhile, current first-team defender Jonny Evans was presented with his 100th Northern Ireland cap in front of home supporters in Belfast before he helped his country to a 3-0 win over San Marino.
Now sitting on 104 appearances, Evans is, by our records, the fifth Academy graduate to make more than 100 international appearances. He joins a prestigious group also including Gerard Pique (102, Spain), Sir Bobby Charlton (106, England), David Beckham (115, England) and John O’Shea (118, Republic of Ireland).
Charlie Savage became the latest graduate to debut on the international stage, starting for Wales in a 4-0 win over Gibraltar last week. Congratulations, Charlie! Regan Poole, who played in the Academy sides for several years after joining from Newport County, also made his first start in that game.
Celebrating his milestone, Poole reflected on his time at United, saying “they improved me so much as a person and as a player.”
Savage is now excelling at Reading in the Championship while Poole is impressing at Portsmouth.
At youth level, Elyh Harrison made his England Under-18s debut, keeping a clean sheet alongside Finley McAllister in a 1-0 win over Morocco.
Harry Amass captained England U17s, for whom Shea Lacey and Jayce Fitzgerald also featured.
Louis Jackson, Jack Kingdon and Malachi Sharpe (Scotland U19s), Dan Gore and Omari Forson (England U20s), Max Oyedele (Poland U21s), Isak Hansen-Aaroen (Norway U21s), Radek Vitek (Czechia U21s) and Alvaro Fernandez (Spain U21s) also played over the break.
EFL TROPHY TICKETS
United's Under-21s play our final group-stage game in the EFL Trophy later this month. Fans can buy tickets for the Tuesday 31 October tie at Salford City here.
EMERGING TALENT PROGRAMME
The Academy’s Emerging Talent Programme has now been in place for four years and, with no fixtures due to the international break, it’s a good time to reflect on its achievements.
In the programme, Academy coaches - led by Jen Mildenhall - engage with schools, grassroots football clubs and community groups across Manchester’s 10 boroughs. Its key purpose is to ensure as many children from across the region as possible experience how the Academy operates and benefit from the set-up.
The Emerging Talent Programme is responsible for hosting tournaments, festivals and coaching sessions and engaging with grassroots clubs to aid their coaching. It also allows Academy staff to gain a better understanding of the talent across Manchester and several players have been signed as a result of being a part of these events.
In total, 12,000 children engage with the programme each year across 500 primary schools, 200 secondary schools and hundreds of junior teams. In addition, 800 coaches have benefitted from workshops, webinars and practical sessions in the last year alone.
Nick Cox, Director of Academy, said: “We hope that by investing in coaches, we will, in turn, help raise the already high standard of junior football across the north-west. It is our duty as the prominent club in the area to share resource for the betterment of others.”
A total of 46 players have attended the Emerging Talent Centre and gone on to register as a player in our Academy, and a further 350 have registered at other professional clubs, with United staff signposting them to Football League clubs across the north-west.
These last four years, then, have had an outstanding impact on the lives of children and grassroots coaches across the region, and so it’s only right to celebrate the work of the Emerging Talent Programme now.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
The Under-18s play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the U18 Premier League. The 11:30 BST fixture will be broadcast live on MUTV, where coverage begins from the Midlands 15 minutes before kick-off.