Nick Cox.

Cox and Ryan retain FA Youth Cup hope

Thursday 21 May 2020 15:51

Head of Academy Nick Cox and Under-18s lead coach Neil Ryan remain hopeful the 2019/20 FA Youth Cup will be concluded, with Manchester United one of four teams left in the competition.

Although the Academy season was brought to a premature end last month, there has been no official word yet on whether the famous tournament will be able to resume.

The Reds had progressed to the semi-finals, without conceding a goal, and were due to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Manchester City were paired with Blackburn Rovers in the other tie, and all the players involved will be keeping their fingers crossed that they can follow in the footsteps of some of the game's most famous names by lifting the trophy, at some point.

FA Youth Cup highlights: United 1 Leeds 0 Video

FA Youth Cup highlights: United 1 Leeds 0

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“As it stands, the FA Youth Cup is the one competition that hasn’t been cancelled," said Cox, during Thursday's MUTV Group Chat. "We’re still not sure what the plans are with that, but we like to think, because it hasn’t been cancelled, that means there is some kind of plan to get it played.

“There are only a couple of games left to go across the whole competition, so, realistically, that could be squeezed into the beginning of a new season. You would have the slight issue of which boys are going to play, is it last year’s group or is it the new age-group for next season? I guess you would have to work that out.

“But it is well within the realms of possibility that that could get played. I think for the stature and a prestigious competition, it would be strange to have a year without a winner, so we’re really keen to get it played.

“Obviously we understand people’s health and people being safe is a number-one priority," he stressed. "But we hope, as this eases in the months to come, we might well get the opportunity to finish the competition, because it is an amazing experience.

“You guys [Wes Brown and Danny Webber] have played in the Youth Cup, it is an amazing experience and we’d love the boys to finish the job they started. They’d done ever so well to get through to the semi-finals, so we’ve got our fingers crossed.”

Neil Ryan steered his team into the last four of the FA Youth Cup.

Ryan, who has guided the side to this stage of the competition on the back of victories over Lincoln City, Norwich City, Leeds United and Wigan Athletic, says he is just awaiting an update on the situation, 

"The Football Association obviously have a lot on their plate at the moment," he told us. "Trying to sort out the league and what is happening with the season. That seems to be changing with the various Government guidelines and is a higher priority than the FA Youth Cup.

“But we're hoping something can be done in the future, where we might be able to resume it. There are four teams left in the tournament and I'm sure all four clubs would love to get the opportunity to complete that.

“It's something we'll wait to be advised on, and guided on by the FA. Once we get the information, hopefully we can have another go at it."