Academy Weekly: U18s complete a treble

Friday 17 May 2024 09:09

Manchester United’s Under-18s were crowned English champions, thus securing qualification for next season’s UEFA Youth League. Here’s everything you need to know from the last seven days at our Academy…


Goals from Ethan Wheatley and Ethan Williams guided Adam Lawrence’s Under-18s side to a 2-1 victory over southern-title winners Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. In a dominant performance, the lead could have stretched further in the second half against a very strong Blues side. You can watch highlights below.

Winning the national final completes a highly impressive treble of trophies for the young Reds, who had already beaten Manchester City to both the northern crown and the U18 Premier League Cup.

U18 highlights: Chelsea v United Video

U18 highlights: Chelsea v United

Highlights | Watch the key moments from our young Reds' U18 Premier League National final at Stamford Bridge...


To cap off a wonderful season, the U18s squad paraded their silverware at Old Trafford at half-time of Wednesday night’s game against Newcastle United. The young Reds were deservedly given a fantastic reception.


Goalkeeper Elyh Harrison was presented with the Denzil Haroun Reserve-Team Player of the Year award before Wednesday night’s first-team match against Newcastle United. The 18-year-old, who joined from Stevenage as a scholar, has put in a series of fantastic performances across the season at a variety of age groups, including in the U18 Premier League Cup final where his distribution helped set up both of United’s goals and his late saves ensured the young Reds got over the line.

Director of Academy Nick Cox said: “Elyh has equipped himself brilliantly throughout the season, consistently performing for our Under-18s, Under-21s and often training with the first team.

“This variety of experiences will stand him in great stead as he continues his development as a really exciting young goalkeeper. Winning this prestigious award at only 18 years of age is really impressive and shows just how mature Elyh is.

“He is a credit to both Tommy Lee, lead Academy goalkeeper coach, and Kevin Wolfe, Academy goalkeeping coach, who have worked really closely with Elyh.

“Yet again, this was a really difficult decision as there were a number of players who really deserve individual recognition for the progress they have made this season.

“We’re really pleased with our Under-21s' campaign, each player has also supported first-team training sessions on various occasions. We wanted a young and stretched group and they have responded in exactly the right way to each challenge that we have intentionally designed for them.

“Travis Binnion has, once again, done a superb job overseeing the Professional Development Phase and maximising the individual development of each of our players.”


Wheatley, who became the club’s 250th Academy graduate when making his first-team debut in late April, has received the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award. He’s enjoyed a fantastic season, playing in the U18 Premier League, PL Cup, UEFA Youth League, EFL Trophy, Premier League 2 and now the Premier League. His two goals in the Premier League Cup final and one in the national U18 Premier League final at Stamford Bridge exemplified his significant contribution to a memorable campaign for the age group.

Wheatley and Harrison with their awards at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Director of Academy Cox said: “Ethan really deserves this award, having represented the club to the highest standard across six different competitions this season. He has excelled at everything that he has been asked to do both on the pitch, scoring an impressive 14 goals, and off the pitch, within his personal development programme and strong educational achievements.

“Ethan has consistently improved throughout the season, dedicating himself to his training programme, building on each performance and getting stronger and stronger, through hard work and perseverance.

“He has made a great deal of progress, which was recognised last month, when Ethan made his first-team debut and became the 250th Academy graduate to play for Manchester United.

“Our Under-18s have had a fantastic season, winning the national title, after securing the Premier League North Division and the Premier League Cup, is a brilliant achievement so choosing just one player to win this award was really challenging.

“We’ve seen a fantastic amount of individual development across the entire group which is testament to the diligence of Adam Lawrence, Colin Little and the rest of the Professional Development Phase staff.”


Lifeblood is a new story-driven documentary series utilising exclusive behind-the-scenes access to explore what drives the achievements and the philosophy of youth development at United.

Club media have followed players, parents and staff to explore the workings of one of the world’s most cherished sporting institutions. Interviews with current first-team graduates will also emphasise how the Academy’s core values mould successful people on and off the pitch.

Read a review of episode one here, and watch now below.

Lifeblood: History Video

Lifeblood: History

FULL FILM | ‘Lifeblood: History’ tells the story of our iconic Academy, with a focus on Alejandro Garnacho’s emergence…


In the first Lifeblood film, Alejandro Garnacho (graduate number 244) reflects on the competition that catapulted him towards the first team: the FA Youth Cup.

Alongside Kobbie Mainoo, Garnacho helped United to a record 11th Youth Cup triumph two years ago. A record-breaking 67,000 fans watched the final at Old Trafford and the night clearly remains special to Alejandro.

“Two years have gone by, but when I watch the clips, I can remember it like it was yesterday,” he explains in Lifeblood. “It was there at Old Trafford, where we play every weekend. It’s something I will never forget, it will always stick with me.

“A club like Manchester United, which is so rich in history, and, for me, one of the biggest ever and with all the fantastic players they've had over the years, it's a dream come true for me to play here.”


Wednesday's victory over Newcastle United brought up two significant landmarks for Academy graduates, with Scott McTominay making his 250th appearance and Marcus Rashford becoming only the 28th player in club history to hit the 400-game mark. Congratulations to them both! Kobbie Mainoo, making his 33rd appearance, scored his second Old Trafford goal and his fourth overall for the first team to help the Reds to three points.