Academy Weekly: UEFA Youth League begins
Manchester United return to the UEFA Youth League on this afternoon (Wednesday) after a one-year absence, taking on Bayern Munich at the German giants’ training campus in a 15:00 BST kick-off.
The prestigious continental tournament mirrors the UEFA Champions League in the group stages, meaning United’s youngsters will play FC Copenhagen (Denmark) and Galatasaray (Turkey) before Christmas. All four teams play each other once home and away.
Travis Binnion will lead United’s U19s in the competition, aided by Dave Hughes and another coach for each match out of Mark Dempsey, Colin Little and Martin Drury. Each of these three coaches will assist for one opponent, home and away, providing both United’s players and coaches with regular fresh insights.
“It’s an interesting group, the U19s,” Binnion told us when looking ahead to the Youth League.
“It brings together four of our ages groups, from your Under-17s through to a couple of over-age players, so it’s a different team that comes together for these six games.
“We’ve got a real varied group, and a really exciting and challenging one. All the games will be tough.
“It becomes about leadership with the mix of age groups. The Youth League gives you a very quick insight into the capability and ability of someone to play at a higher level with other good players. Some players will be playing up against definite high-level opposition. It’s a challenge and you want to see how they cope against other clubs’ best players, and you’ve got that foreign element to it, as well, the different styles of play and different types of development programs. We’ll see some stuff across the six games that we don’t see in our games program, and that’s really the beauty of it.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
U21s face Rangers B in Friday friendly
Ethan Wheatley’s 16th-minute header separated United and Rangers B at the Scottish club’s training ground in a behind-closed-doors friendly last Friday.
The young Reds will play another BCD friendly against Brentford B on Friday 20 October at St. George’s Park, just one part of the ever-varied fixture schedule for our Academy teams.
The aim is to provide as many different experiences to our young players as possible and that applies at all age groups, not just the Under-21s and Under-18s. Our Under-14s group, for example, will compete at the Craig Brown CBE Memorial Trophy in Scotland in mid-October, facing Rangers, Aberdeen, Preston North End and Bohemians, among others.
U18s defeat Forest
Victor Musa’s 91st-minute penalty continued the Under-18s' winning start to the league season. Adam Lawrence’s side played a man down for an hour, after the dismissal of Ashton Missin, and went behind just before half-time to a Conor Brown penalty.
Finley McAllister provided an excellent deep cross for Jack Kingdon to finish after 59 minutes before Musa converted the late spot-kick earned by substitute Jim Thwaites.
United sign young goalkeeper
Twenty-year-old Kie Plumley has joined the Academy ranks following a successful trial at Carrington, and will provide competition for the gloves in the Under-21s group. Plumley was most recently with Oxford United, appearing on the bench several times for the League One side last season.
Academy graduate achievements
Hannibal’s excellent second-half strike against Brighton & Hove Albion represented a maiden United first-team goal for the 20-year-old midfielder, who has progressed wonderfully since joining the Academy, aged 16.
That it came in defeat was undoubtedly disappointing for Hannibal, but this first goal is just reward for hard work and patience.
“Years of work went into that moment to score a goal for this incredible club. Impossible to enjoy it without the team getting the result we wanted,” the Tunisia international tweeted post-match.
Striker Charlie McNeill was an unused substitute for Stevenage in their 1-1 draw against Charlton. Defender Will Fish made his 11th appearance of the season for Scottish club Hibernian, who drew 2-2 with Kilmarnock.
Brandon Williams came off the bench after 47 minutes to help Ipswich Town to a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday, for whom two Academy graduates featured: recently departed defender Di’Shon Bernard and striker Ashley Fletcher, who left United in 2016 after seven years at Carrington.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
UEFA Youth League action
As aforementioned, United play Bayern Munich at the FC Bayern Campus at 15:00 BST on Wednesday 20 September. UK-based supporters can watch the game live on TNT Sports 1.
It is also being shown on MUTV in the UK too.
The Under-21s host Arsenal in a behind-closed-doors match at Carrington on Saturday in a 12:00 BST kick-off. The game is unable to be hosted at Leigh Sports Village or Old Trafford and cannot be broadcast on MUTV due to Premier League restrictions. Fans will be able to follow updates on ManUtd.com and the United App and highlights will be available later in the day on the same platforms.