Ten Hag: The pathway is there

Sunday 28 May 2023 07:00

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says that there is a 'pathway' for Academy players to progress and become part of his first-team plans next term.

The boss conducted his customary Matchday Q&A with club media on Friday - available to watch and read from 10:00 BST today (Sunday) - ahead of United's final Premier League match of the season, on Sunday against Fulham at Old Trafford.

The Reds have already guaranteed Champions League football next term, after beating Chelsea 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams, and go into the match against the Cottagers looking to finish the campaign in third spot in the Premier League table.

At half-time in that match against the Blues on Thursday, Academy players Dan Gore and Kobbie Mainoo were honoured as the Denzil Haroun Reserve-Team Player of the Year and the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year, respectively, for 2022/23.

With both taking part in first-team training this season, and Mainoo also making his first senior appearance for the club, Erik says the duo 'deserved' the awards and must now be motivated to progress further.

Press conference part two: United v Fulham Video

Press conference part two: United v Fulham

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"Yeah they did well [in first-team training]," he said. "They deserved it and that is always what has to be the case.

"Like Alejandro Garnacho, [who won the Jimmy Murphy award] last season, you see the path is open but they have to deserve their position.

"I hope this trophy will motivate them and stimulate them to bring more because that is necessary if you want to get a place in the first team, the first squad, of this club."

Garnacho's rise has been remarkable, having just last year been part of the Under-18s side that won the FA Youth Cup - alongside Gore.

Both Mainoo and Gore were also part of the youthful group that took part in the winter training camp with Ten Hag and his coaching team during the World Cup.

United is synonymous with youth development, and Ten Hag shares that view, making the future very bright indeed.