Academy Weekly: Reds held to draws
Manchester United Academy teams returned to action this weekend after the recent international break and enjoyed several valuable experiences off the pitch, too.
Here's your latest round-up of all the news from the Academy over the last seven days...
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Scholars take part in Safe Driving Course
Last week United’s first and second-year scholars took part in a Safe Drive Stay Alive road safety initiative. The course aims to empower young drivers to make safe driving choices. Hard-hitting performances were used to inform the group of the dangers and effects of poor driving choices.
The Academy visit the centre at Middleton Arena every year, with last year’s sessions held virtually due to the pandemic.
Ian Smithson, Academy Education Manager, said: “This is clearly an important topic for our young players who are already driving or certainly will be in the near future. All of our players have been through the course, as part of their Personal and Professional Development curriculum, that encourages a responsible attitude on the road."
Players also took part in cooking classes at Ashton-on-Mersey school this week. The group learnt how to cook several nutritious meals including chicken stir fry, taking the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the importance a balanced diet.
Under-23s draw at Derby
The Under-23s came from behind at the Loughborough University Stadium to draw 1-1 against Derby County on Friday night. Bartosz Cybulski put the Rams ahead shortly after half-time and Charlie McNeill stepped up to get United back level with 20 minutes remaining.
A tight end to the match ensued, with United goalkeeper Dermot Mee denying Louie Sibley on two occasions and Alejandro Garnacho watching one go agonisingly wide in the final moments of the game.
"I thought we played some really good football at times," manager Neil Wood said.
"It's kind of been the story of our season of creating a lot of chances but not converting them into goals. We need to be much more clinical."
Sam Mather, Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, three players normally playing for the Under-18s, all got minutes on Friday night. Neil Wood emphasised the importance of challenging players.
"We've always pushed players on, stretched them and challenged them," he said. "It's only right that we put them onto the next stage of their development, see how they cope with the challenge. They're getting some good experiences throughout the season. We're going to keep pushing them."
Under-18s face tough test at Burnley
It was a tough, physical test for the Under-18s at Burnley on Saturday morning. Jack Moorhouse scored his first goal at this level to put Travis Binnion's side ahead in the first half, rifling a powerful shot home. Burnley equalised through Kade Ratchford. Charlie McNeill put United ahead once again with 20 minutes remaining, only for Joe Bauress to level for the home side in the last minute of normal time.
Binnion said United's performance left much room for improvement, even if the team has now gone seven games unbeaten in the league.
"They need to be disappointed," he said of the players.
"Results are important as you go on but it's how you get to that result and we weren't good enough today.
"Game management is a phrase that's used a lot and it's just got to be better. We've got to move the ball quicker, we've got to be brighter in key moments, individuals have got to do a lot better. We didn't look like opening them up.
"Working hard and being difficult to play against should be a given for any team. There will be some positives today, there were some good performances, but as a collective, we weren't good enough. We should always be hard to beat so yeah, it's seven unbeaten but we should be dominating games better.
"We've got to be better with the ball, a bit smarter in terms of identifying where opportunities are and finding a way into those situations, and when we're in those situations, being more ruthless."
MANUSS Visit Bisham Abbey
The MANUSS group visited Bisham Abbey, in Berkshire, last week. The teams took part in a series of games and training experiences outside of their usual routine. Next week the boys will have the opportunity to visit Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh.
The Academy have adopted a North and South hub to supplement the established games programme. A number of age groups have hosted games and football festivals at these sites throughout the season.
Nick Cox, Head of Academy, said: "Many of our boys have had the opportunity to travel to our Northern and Southern locations this season. We have a fantastic games programme in place, and we are committed to developing this even further.
"Going away with your teammates at a young age is a great development opportunity for our players and they learn a lot on these trips. Our younger teams have had the chance to regularly test themselves against opposition they wouldn’t traditionally face in the North-West games programme."
Manchester United Schoolboy Scholars (MANUSS) is a bespoke development programme for boys who are offered a scholarship with the club whilst they are still of school age. The programme enables The Academy to deliver a more flexible structure for the players, complimenting both their curriculum education and wider football development.
In certain scenarios where it is deemed beneficial to the boy, this may mean that they begin their education at an affiliated school in Ashton on Mersey or Manchester Grammar School.
Boys receive an increased contact time with the club in order to best prepare them for life as a Manchester United scholar. The MANUSS programme began in 2007 and many of United’s Academy graduates, including Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay, have been through the system.
Off the back of winning Hull City's Player of the Month award for October, Di'Shon Bernard kept a clean sheet as the Tigers triumphed 2-0 over Birmingham City in the Championship. Ethan Laird and James Garner were also in action in England's second tier, the latter coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw with Reading and the former playing the full game as Swansea were held to the same scoreline against Blackpool.
FA Youth Cup draw
The Under-19s will play Scunthorpe United in the FA Youth Cup Third Round. The tie has will be played on Monday 13 December at Old Trafford, with kick-off scheduled for 19:00 GMT.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
UEFA Youth League action
The Under-19s take on Villarreal at 13:00 GMT on Tuesday 23 November. UK-based Reds can watch the game live on BT Sport 1.
League schedule continues
The Under-23s play host Crystal Palace at 12:00 GMT on Saturday 27 November, while the Under-18s travel to West Bromwich Albion, with kick-off half-an-hour earlier.