Academy Weekly: Kobbie called up after graduates inspire FA cup win

Tuesday 19 March 2024 14:15

The impact of Academy graduates on Manchester United’s men’s first-team was once again a source of great pride this weekend as two scored in Sunday’s thrilling FA Cup quarter-final victory over Liverpool.

The fantastic displays of Kobbie Mainoo (18), Anthony Garnacho (19), Marcus Rashford (26) and Scott McTominay (27),  and the impact of our graduates elsewhere in football, help illuminate why fantastic work goes on behind the scenes at the Academy every week.

McTominay scored United’s opener at Old Trafford before assisting the third goal, finished coolly by Rashford. Mainoo’s composed midfield performance drew great plaudits - and later led to his first call-up into England's senior squad. Meanwhile, Garnacho’s relentless work rate and assist for the match-winning strike also caught the eye on an unforgettable afternoon in M16.

Few games better sum up what United is all about and it’s no surprise that several youth-team graduates were at the heart of such a dramatic, hard-fought win.

Here’s all the latest news from our Academy…

Mainoo drafted into senior England squad


Kobbie has been promoted to Gareth Southgate's group for friendlies with Brazil and Belgium.


Kobbie Mainoo, Manchester United Academy graduate number 246, has received his first call-up to the England senior national squad.

The Stockport-born midfielder was initially asked to represent the Three Lions at Under-21 level during this international break.

However, it was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon, less than 48 hours after he helped United to defeat Liverpool, that Mainoo had been promoted to Gareth Southgate's 25-man group for the upcoming games against Belgium and Brazil.

You can read more about Kobbie's call-up in our separate news story here.


Our Under-18s showed great character to come from behind to defeat Blackburn Rovers 5-2 on Saturday.

Bendito Mantato netted four goals and was joined on the scoresheet by Victor Musa. You can watch the highlights below.

U18s highlights: United v Blackburn Video

U18s highlights: United v Blackburn

Watch the standout moments from the young Reds' U18 Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers...


Travis Binnion’s side made the most of playing at a former Premier League ground as they managed a professional 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening.

Aaron Harper-Bailey’s own goal put United ahead before Ethan Ennis netted his first goal since returning from injury.

Charlie McNeill finished things off with a clinical 67th-minute finish after Sonny Aljofree’s wonderful pass from deep. Highlights are available below.

U21s highlights: West Brom v United Video

U21s highlights: West Brom v United

Highlights | Watch our two-minute recap from United's latest outing in Premier League 2, against the Baggies...


Academy graduates Omari Forson and Willy Kambwala have each received a Debut Ball from the Premier League, to mark their recent top-flight bows.

The presentation, which was first introduced in 2015/16, sees all homegrown debutants who have been developed at an Academy in the English football pyramid, for three years or more prior to their 21st birthday, receive this special and unique memento.

Nick Cox, United’s Director of Academy, and technical director Darren Fletcher were on hand to present the items at our Carrington training ground.

Congratulations to Omari and Willy – keep working hard, lads!


Victor Lindelof has spoken enthusiastically about the futures of Kambwala and Mainoo.

The Swede labelled Kambala “a great talent” before explaining: “He's got a great future ahead of him. I think when it comes to players like that, it's just [a matter of] talking to them and making them understand what they have to do.

“When you get to this level, this is when the real hard work begins. He's a very, very good guy and he's got the right mentality. So I'm not really worried about that. I think he's got a great future ahead of him.”

Kambwala celebrates United's win over Liverpool with Alejandro Garnacho, after watching from the bench.

Then discussing Mainoo, Victor said: “He’s a fantastic player and a very, very smart young player. He's got the right mentality and I think the best thing for him is just stay calm and listen to the older players and try to learn as much as possible and pick up a few things. But then as well, just be yourself and express yourself on the pitch.

“That's the most important thing. And that's why he's at this stage as well, because he's done that throughout his career so far, and I think it's super important as well to just let him develop naturally.

“Obviously, he's very, very young, but if he can just keep doing the things he's doing on the pitch right now, I think he's going to be a fantastic, fantastic player in the future as well.”


Many of our young players will join up with their respective international sides over the next fortnight. Those who do so will benefit from a change in playing style, the chance to travel and the exposure to different types of opposition.

Our top two Academy sides will not be in action now until April, when the fixtures will include our Under-21s hosting Liverpool at Old Trafford on Friday 12 April (19:30 BST). Fans can buy tickets here.