Academy Weekly: Crolla's boxing advice

Tuesday 27 February 2024 09:00

As Omari Forson made his first start for Manchester United and Toby Collyer earned a spot in the matchday squad, work continued in the Academy to help the next generation of young talents maximise their potential.

That manifests itself in football matches, eye-opening sessions on other sporting endeavours and advice from those who have done it before.

Read everything you need to know about the last seven days at our world-famous Academy here…


The Under-18s extended their league unbeaten run to 17 games with a 15th victory of the campaign, putting three past Middlesbrough at home in a confident performance. The goals came from James Scanlon, Ashton Missin and Ethan Wheatley. You can watch highlights below.

U18s highlights: United v Middlesbrough Video

U18s highlights: United v Middlesbrough

Watch the key action from our Under-18s' clash with Middlesbrough...


Our U7s and U8s in the pre-Academy stage were recently treated to a boxing session with former British champion Anthony Crolla and his coaches. The young players loved the session and left with huge smiles on their faces. It was a fantastic opportunity to try something different and learn new skills.

This session was part of a wider emphasis on encouraging young footballers to be involved with multiple sports, as it can support football development and help young people discover new passions.

Some of our Under-21s players discussed the importance of this recently, with Toby Collyer revealing his involvement in swimming and tennis helped his co-ordination and allowed to him to properly “know my body.”

Goalkeeper Dermot Mee believed playing rugby at school was key for “hand-eye co-ordination, catching and kicking, that extra bit of bravery and physicality,” while defenders Habeeb Ogunneye and Louis Jackson reflected fondly on sprinting and rugby respectively.


Midfielder Toby Collyer was an unused substitute in the men’s first team’s 2-1 home defeat to Fulham on Saturday. It’s a landmark first involvement in a senior matchday squad for the Worthing-born 20-year-old.

Having joined United after his 18th birthday, Collyer will not be included in our official list of Academy graduates if he makes his debut. The 249 graduates who have represented the first team so far have all met the following criteria, set out to be as appropriate as possible for both the 1930s and the modern era: they have to have signed before the age of 18, played at a junior level below the first team at United, and not played for another team at senior level.

While Toby will not, therefore, be the club's 250th graduate if he earns a debut, it will be a source of great pride for him, his family, support network and for the Academy staff who have helped him maximise his potential over the last two years.

Collyer was one of eight Academy players in the squad, with Forson earning his first start, playing in a forward line alongside graduates Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford. Kobbie Mainoo started in midfield and was joined by Scott McTominay later on, with Jonny Evans, Willy Kambwala and Collyer unused subs.

Congratulations to Toby Collyer on his first inclusion in the matchday squad.

Assessing Forson’s display after his first start, manager Erik ten Hag said: "I think it was reasonable. He had some good actions. He was reliable in defending and had some good actions in possession. I saw, for his first time, he did well."


Kobbie Mainoo took time out of his schedule last week to watch, train with and talk to our Under-9s group.

The kids were delighted to see the rising star, who relished 'a trip down memory lane'.

Kobbie answers questions from those hoping to follow in his footsteps.

Mainoo, who has now made 19 first-team appearances, fondly remembered enjoying similar experiences, including a Q&A with now-teammate Marcus Rashford.

You can watch the Stockport-born midfielder's first big interview in full on and the United app on Tuesday evening.

Kobbie participating in U9s training.


The U21s welcome Derby County to Leigh Sports Village on Friday evening (19:00 GMT) in Premier League 2.

United U18s host Crystal Palace in the U18 Premier League Cup semi-final at Carrington on Saturday morning (11:00 GMT).

Both games will be shown live on MUTV.