Wheatley named Young Player of the Year

Wednesday 15 May 2024 18:30

Ethan Wheatley has been named Manchester United's Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year after a standout 2023/24 campaign.

The forward, who became our 250th Academy graduate in April when he made his senior debut against Sheffield United, has been in great form for our Under-18s throughout the team's successful 2023/24 season.

Wheatley scored twice in the U18 Premier League Cup final triumph over Manchester City, and made his first-team debut for the Reds the following day.

The Stockport-born striker, who has also featured for the Under-21s, scored many important goals as our young Reds won the U18 Premier League North title. In the subsequent national final at Stamford Bridge, Wheatley was again on the scoresheet, as Adam Lawrence's youngsters beat southern champions Chelsea 2-1 to pick up another prize.

Wheatley will be presented with his Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year trophy ahead of our Premier League match against Newcastle at Old Trafford this evening (20:00 BST kick-off).

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After making his senior debut for the Reds, Wheatley said: "It’s a great club with a massive history, especially in the Academy as well.

"It’s just an honour to make my debut. And then that number 250 is just a little extra as well.

"Adam Lawrence, Colin Little, like all of the staff really, even the analysts: they've all helped me throughout the whole season.

"Last season it was a bit stop-start. I didn't really get to develop as much as I wanted. This season I've been able to stay on the pitch and work on using my body, all these little technical bits as well, and I was talking to the coaches before the game.

"I feel like everything just came into place these last few weeks, and I'm feeling a lot more confident with the way I'm playing."
Nick Cox, Director of Academy, said:

"Ethan really deserves this award, having represented the club to the highest standard across six different competitions this season. He has excelled at everything that he has been asked to do, both on the pitch, scoring an impressive 14 goals, and off the pitch, within his personal development programme and strong educational achievements. 

"Ethan has consistently improved throughout the season, dedicating himself to his training programme, building on each performance and getting stronger and stronger through hard work and perseverance. He has made a great deal of progress, which was recognised last month when Ethan made his first-team debut and became the 250th Academy graduate to play for Manchester United.

"Our Under-18s have had a fantastic season. Winning the national title after securing the Premier League North Division and the Premier League Cup is a brilliant achievement, so choosing just one player to win this award was really challenging. We’ve seen a fantastic amount of individual development across the entire group which is testament to the diligence of Adam Lawrence, Colin Little and the rest of the Professional Development Phase staff."

Wheatley inherits our Young Player of the Year award from current first-teamer and fellow Academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo, who broke into the United senior squad last season.

Other notable past recipients include Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho.
Congratulations on the award, Ethan!


After a memorable campaign which concluded with an unprecedented three trophies, United's U18s squad and staff will parade their silverware around Old Trafford at half-time of Wednesday night's match against Newcastle United.

Ethan Wheatley has, of course, already made his first-team debut, while Harry Amass, Louis Jackson and Habeeb Ogunneye have all been involved in several matchday squads. Fans inside Old Trafford will thus have the opportunity to show their support for the next generation of Academy talent at the interval and are encouraged to do so.

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