Academy Weekly: U21s play Monaco and Nice

Wednesday 03 April 2024 09:51

Manchester United Academy teams of all ages travelled overseas during the Easter period, gaining incredible life experiences while benefitting from exposure to new opposition and environments.

Meanwhile, a date has been set for our Under-18 Premier League Cup final against Manchester City. Here’s everything you need to know about the last seven days at our world-famous Academy…


With no U18s or U21s league fixtures over the Easter weekend, our Professional Development Phase players enjoyed an immensely valuable four-day trip in the south of France, which included training sessions and friendlies at Monaco and Nice.

The long weekend away provided the young players, aged between 15 and 19, with the chance to continue building lifelong friendships thanks to experiences off the pitch as well as on it, including touring Monaco and attending a Ligue 1 fixture.

A 22-player group from United's PDP phase enjoyed friendlies against Monaco and Nice.

This is the second such recent trip to the region, following the success of a similar programme in 2022, when the same age group played Monaco, whose co-operation in organisation has been greatly appreciated once again. This time around, an extra match against nearby Nice was added to provide another new challenge for our players. Staff from both clubs couldn’t have been more welcoming.

“It’s been a great few days,” said Travis Binnion, head of player development and coaching for the phase.

“The staff at Monaco and Nice have been fantastic and we’ve had two really good, challenging games that have stretched our players. That’s what these trips are about and we’ve got plenty of learnings to take away for the final weeks of the season.”


Meanwhile, other age groups have been participating in competitions or friendly games in Spain (Med Cup), the USA (MLS Cup), the Netherlands (HVV Star) and Brussels (Brussels Cup).

Later in April, the Under-14s will complete a Holocaust Education Trip to Poland while another age group competes in Czechia at the Karlovy Cup.

“These trips will, primarily, provide opportunities for our players to develop their skills against high-level opposition in a tournament environment,” explained Nick Cox, director of Academy.

“Of course, we know that these experiences are also a valuable part of a young person’s personal development.

“Just as importantly, our players and staff will create memories that last a lifetime as they engage in experiences that wouldn’t otherwise come their way, were it not for their association with our club.

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In his latest column, our Director of Academy reflects on Mainoo, Garnacho and co playing for their countries.

“I am aware that staffing of these trips requires time away from family, long working hours and increased responsibility. Thank you to everyone that has contributed to ensuring these trips take place successfully.

“Who knows which trip might be nurturing the next Kobbie. It was only six years ago that he was in Boston where he travelled as an underage player and experienced the opportunity to be part of a tournament-winning team. And it was only two years ago, Kobbie was in Dallas for the Generation Adidas Cup, where he was an overage player and captain and experienced a narrow quarter-final defeat to River Plate.”


Striker Joe Hugill made his sixth consecutive start for Burton Albion at the weekend. The 20-year-old has now made 13 appearances in League One after his January move, netting once and assisting three times. This follows 10 games for Altrincham in the fifth tier last season.

Will Fish played the full game for Hibernian against title-challenging Rangers. That was his 42nd appearance for the Scottish side this season, building on the 21 opportunities he got in the previous campaign.

Goalkeeper Radek Vitek continues to be a mainstay in Accrington Stanley’s side. He started against Morecambe on Good Friday in a 2-1 defeat.

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Fans are encouraged to show their support for the next generation of young Reds as United take on Manchester City in the U18 Premier League Cup final on Tuesday 23 April.

Our Under-18s have enjoyed a successful season thus far, establishing a remarkable 14-game winning streak in the league as well as progressing to the final of this competition. Our 100 per cent league run has now ended but the boys remain top of the table and, while each player’s individual programme and development is at the heart of the Academy’s mission rather than team results, the U18s have the chance to complete an impressive double thanks to their excellent application all season.

The Under-18s defeated Crystal Palace in the semi-final.

The extraordinary crowd who witnessed our 11th FA Youth Cup triumph played a direct role in the development of players like Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo, who have since established themselves as first-team regulars. Fans have an opportunity to play their part again this year.

United will host City at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday 23 April. Kick-off is at 19:30 BST.

Home supporters will occupy the West Stand and can order tickets for free. Away supporters will be stationed in the East Stand.



United’s U18s play Liverpool on Saturday morning. The 11am kick-off - away from home - will be shown live on MUTV. The U21s then host Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening.