Academy Weekly: Landmarks, Christmas Truce and cup action

Tuesday 07 November 2023 07:00

While one Academy graduate reached a half-century of men's first-team appearances, Manchester United's young players this week researched the Christmas Truce as education around Remembrance Day continued.

The Under-21s - pictured above - enjoyed a weekend league victory, bouncing back from a disappointing late defeat in the EFL Trophy at Salford City. Our Under-19s now travel to Copenhagen for an exciting UEFA Youth League fixture.

Here's everything you need to know from the last seven days at the Academy...


Academy graduate Alejandro Garnacho brought up a personal milestone following his first-team appearance against Fulham, with the 19-year-old having now turned out 50 times for the Reds.

Garnacho joined the club from Atletico Madrid back in 2020 and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign under Erik ten Hag last season, scoring important goals against Real Sociedad and Fulham.

He opened his account for 2023/24 with a strike against Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup and has continued to go from strength to strength.

His debut came against Chelsea in our 1-1 draw back in April 2022, with his international bow for Argentina against Australia following just 14 months later. Everyone at the Academy is proud of Alejandro’s continued success.

Garnacho played in the U21s at the start of last season, and is pictured here celebrating against Barrow in the EFL Trophy.


Two late penalties condemned our U21s to a dramatic 4-3 defeat at Salford City in the third and final group-stage fixture in the EFL Trophy.

United have featured in the competition since 2019/20 and began this year’s campaign with a penalty shoot-out victory at League Two Stockport County. Draws in the EFL Trophy are followed by shoot-outs to determine who receives a bonus point. A chastening 8-1 defeat at League One high-flyers Bolton Wanderers came next, providing valuable lessons to our young players.

At Salford, Shola Shoretire put United ahead with a composed close-range finish before the home side scored a quickfire double. United responded with one of our own after half-time to lead 3-2, sparking wild celebrations from the 1,000-plus Reds in attendance.

Despite the disappointment of the late penalties, the young Reds pushed until the very end, earning rapturous applause from our travelling fans as a result.

The Academy would like to thank all supporters who have attended any of the three games this season. Your backing plays a direct role in the development of our young players.

EFL Trophy highlights: Salford v United U21s Video

EFL Trophy highlights: Salford v United U21s

Watch the best moments + reaction from Travis Binnion, as the young Reds play out a thriller at the Peninsula Stadium…


A Joe Hugill double and another from Shola Shoretire earned our Under-21s a 3-1 home victory over Everton in Premier League 2.

David Hughes, professional development coach, reflected on the performance post-match with club media.

“We’re pleased,” he said. “We created really, really good opportunities. We probably felt we could have been more clinical and we’ve asked the lads to be more ruthless. We were disappointed when we gave them an opportunity to get back into the game but I thought we moved the ball well, created and carved open some good chances for ourselves and, in the end, we felt that we deserved the three points.

U21s highlights: United v Everton Video

U21s highlights: United v Everton

Watch the key moments from our Premier League 2 bout with Everton at Leigh Sports Village...

“We’re disappointed to concede. You test the boys with trying to be really difficult to play against but also being really expansive and open with the ball. That can pose a challenge, but we’re really pleased with the progress the boys are making in terms of dealing with the football and dominating possession at times, stepping in and being brave. It’s a really good reaction from the end of the game on Tuesday against Salford so, all in all, a really good afternoon with a solid performance and some progress from the boys.”

The U21s are not back in league action until 2 December when they take on Tottenham Hotspur.


Under-18s captain Finley McAllister will represent England at the upcoming U17 World Cup. Congratulations, Finley, and good luck!


As part of our year-round education programme, our U12s have recently been focusing on the Christmas Truce, where soldiers on both sides of World War One stopped on Christmas Day to play a game of football.

The kids visited The Staffordshire Regiment Museum alongside representatives from Aston Villa to experience what a World War One trench looked and felt like. The two teams then enjoyed a quick kickabout in 'no man's land'. At home, our young players have been researching the stories of United players who died in conflicts over the years.

On Sunday, United were pleased to host Manchester City's U12s for the annual 'truce' game. The two clubs come together every year to honour those who have lost their lives in conflicts across the world.


The Under-19s play FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday in a 15:00 GMT kick-off. You can follow live updates on the United app with highlights to follow later.

Our Under-18s travel to Blackburn Rovers for Saturday a game that will be shown live on and in our app. Kick-off is at 11:00 GMT.