Cox excited by Ten Hag's commitment to youth

Thursday 26 May 2022 11:30

Nick Cox says he is looking forward to working with Erik ten Hag to keep the pathway open between the Academy and first team at Manchester United.

The head of United’s famed Academy said he was excited by Ten Hag’s appointment because of his strong record of developing young players at his previous club Ajax.  
“It’s great that we’ve recruited a new manager in Erik ten Hag who has a proven commitment to developing young players, and comes from a club which has a very similar emphasis on youth,” Cox said.

“Everyone in the Academy is looking forward to working with him.”

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Cox was speaking in a briefing to the club’s Fans’ Forum at Old Trafford, and he told the fan representatives that the Academy was “thriving”. 
He pointed to data showing that United have had the highest percentage of game time for homegrown players in the Premier League since the start of 2020/21, at 27.6 per cent.
“We are the most productive Academy in England and our aim is to preserve and strengthen that status,” Cox said.
Four Academy graduates made first team debuts during the 2021/22 season – Zidane Iqbal, Charlie Savage, Alejandro Garnacho and Tom Heaton – and Antony Elanga firmly established himself as a first team regular.
“A lot of work and investment has been put into strengthening the Academy over recent years and we feel the fruits of that are now showing through.”
Optimism around the Academy has been heightened by this month’s FA Youth Cup triumph for United’s Under-18s, who beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in front of nearly 70,000 fans at Old Trafford.

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Cox said the team epitomised the approach taken by the Academy to attract the best talent to United from near and far.
“The group represents Manchester United with a core of local players from the north-west of England, supplemented by the best in England and then some cherry-picked from European clubs at 16 – all trained and coached to thrive together.”