Academy Weekly: Reds prepare for PL Cup final

Monday 22 April 2024 14:30

With the league crown already secured, Manchester United host Manchester City in the Under-18 Premier League Cup final this Tuesday evening (19:30 BST) and supporters can still order free tickets for the showpiece occasion at Leigh Sports Village.

With more than 7,000 tickets snapped up already, a vibrant atmosphere is expected for what Nick Cox, our Director of Academy, says could be “one of the highest quality youth football matches in Europe this season.”

Tickets are available to order for free here, for both home and away supporters. Here’s everything you need to know from the last seven days at our world-famous Academy…


Gabriele Biancheri’s first-half brace earned our U18s a 2-1 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers and, with the three points, also the U18 Premier League North title.

An impressive campaign began with a 14-game winning streak and, although there are two games remaining, Adam Lawrence’s young side have already finished as champions with 19 wins from 22 games, 74 goals scored, only 24 conceded, and a remarkable 33 different players featured.

U18s highlights: Wolves v United Video

U18s highlights: Wolves v United

Watch the best bits from our Under-18s' Premier League North clash at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground...

The nature of the triumph is most pleasing for the Academy staff. The number of players used while maintaining consistent performances and development speaks to the constant collaboration between the full Professional Development Phase (PDP, U17-U21) staff.

As Nick Cox wrote in his most recent column: “Winning is usually a byproduct of good coaches, talented players and the right coaching programme. The group represents a plethora of pathways to our Academy, with each player in the title-winning squad making their own unique journey.

"In terms of staff, it’s important to recognise the hard work and dedication of the Under-18s coaches: Adam Lawrence, Colin Little and Kevin Wolfe. But they have also been supported in an outstanding fashion by a team of exceptional support staff and wider club staff."

The Director of Academy added: "This achievement is really one for the Professional Development Phase Staff as a whole. The players have represented a variety of teams (U16s, U17s, U19s, U21s, EFL Trophy team and first team) and their development has taken place under the care of the whole group of PDP staff led by Travis Binnion. Well done to them all."

After returning from the Wolves game, the players and staff gathered together in the first-team canteen at Carrington for a celebration meal, with manager Erik ten Hag coming along to show his support and pass on his congratulations.

It was important to mark the landmark moment, but attention quickly turned to the next challenge: Tuesday’s Premier League Cup final.

Erik congratulates title-winning U18s Video

Erik congratulates title-winning U18s

Erik ten Hag congratulated our title-winning Under-18s on Tuesday, after speeches by Nick Cox and Finley McAllister...


Speaking before securing the title, our Under-18s put their media training from earlier this season into practice as they previewed the final against Manchester City.

"You feel appreciated, that everyone has taken time out of their day and come to support you,” said left-back Harry Amass, of the potential for a big crowd at Leigh.

"It gives you that extra motivation to win the game and perform better."

You can order your free tickets for Tuesday evening's final here.

United players preview the U18 PL Cup final Video

United players preview the U18 PL Cup final

Hear from our title-winning young Reds ahead of the upcoming U18 Premier League Cup final...


Louis Jackson, part of our title-winning U18s side, earned his first spot in the senior matchday squad as Erik ten Hag's side defeated Coventry City on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final. Louis joined Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Ethan Wheatley on the substitutes' bench and while those four Academy players are yet to make their debut, they are gaining fantastic experience as part of the first-team set-up.


A particularly youthful Under-21s side fought hard to earn a 2-2 draw at Premier League 2 leaders Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon.

Several regular players were absent due to a significant number of first-team injuries but Travis Binnion’s relatively inexperienced side showed their mettle in an entertaining game.

The Reds went behind after 17 minutes but hit back almost immediately from kick-off with Ruben Curley’s long-range, stroked finish. Gabriele Biancheri netted his first goal at this level soon after, tapping home after a teasing delivery from Ethan Williams. Spurs levelled before half-time and neither side could find a winner after the break. You can watch our highlights below.

U21s highlights: Spurs v United Video

U21s highlights: Spurs v United

Highlights | Take in all the key moments from the young Reds' Premier League 2 encounter with Spurs...


Manchester United's Academy Alumni scheme — named 'United Once, United Forever' — was officially launched at Old Trafford recently.

More than 40 former players were in attendance to watch the Under-21s take on Liverpool and celebrate the pioneering initiative.

Academy staff, spearheaded by Andy Laylor (Player Support Co-Ordinator), have dedicated two years to the development of the programme which will see more than 200 former players remain actively engaged with the Academy and receive formal access to support, help and advice.

The initiative seeks to significantly increase communication with former Academy players, offering access to informal education and workshops on personal development and life skills, further education and qualifications, support in finding new playing and post-playing career opportunities and wide-ranging wellbeing support.


United U18s host City in the U18 Premier League Cup final on Tuesday (19:30 BST). Tickets are fee and fans are encouraged to attend at Leigh Sports Village. The game will also be available to watch live on MUTV, and the United App.

The U21s travel to Nottingham Forest on Friday evening in Premier League 2, before the U18s are in action again the following day, hosting Sunderland at Carrington at 12:30 BST.