Cochrane enjoying new role at United
Justin Cochrane is enjoying life at Manchester United after taking up the role of the Academy's new head of player development and coaching.
The highly rated coach was formerly with The FA and admits it was extremely useful getting to know the staff and players even more during a recent training camp in Edinburgh.
"It's been great for me as a newcomer to immerse myself in football and integrate with the staff," he told us.
Cochrane: We have really exciting youngsters
We caught up with the Academy's new head of player development and coaching during the recent camp in Scotland...
There are some familiar faces already at Carrington for Justin, who knows Kieran McKenna from his time at Tottenham, and Colin Little as a fellow former Crewe Alexandra player.
It has probably helped his integration as he looks to pass on his knowledge during the 2021/22 Academy season, which recently kicked off for the Under-18s and Under-23s.
"I’d met Colin a few times and I didn’t actually play with Colin, but I was aware of him," he said. "We crossed paths and we spoke about coaching.
“Kieran, I worked with Kieran at Tottenham Hotspur, and he’s been very helpful to me since I’ve joined, he’s always on the end of the phone. He’s a great guy and an outstanding coach, probably one of the best in this country as a coach. So, yeah Kieran’s been very helpful. We actually did our coaching qualifications together in 2008/2009 time, so yeah, I’ve known him for a very long time.”
It is clear from speaking with Cochrane that his ideas on how to play the game are very similar to those practised at Manchester United.
There is the prospect of the Reds playing entertaining football at Academy level, although the emphasis will be on stretching the youngsters rather than focusing on the results of any particular matchday.
"I’ve always liked attacking football," he said. "I like the game to be played on the front foot and I like the supporters to be excited when they watch the team play and that’s definitely what the Manchester United supporters expect.
“That’s definitely what people in the Academy have told me they expect from Man United and that’s definitely what I’ve witnessed from going to Old Trafford as a kid, watching the games, and also playing against Manchester United teams over the last 11 years.
“They always had attacking players, skilful players, players that could get supporters on the edge of their seat, and I think we want to continue that. So, my preferred way of playing football is definitely in line with the Man United style."
It is worth expecting plenty of fluidity in terms of the squads for the various competitions this term. Players will be moved up and down age groups in line with their own individual development plan as the Reds take on challenges at Under-23s and Under-18s level.
Furthermore, the Papa John's Trophy campaign kicks off next Tuesday at Lincoln City, live on MUTV, and the UEFA Youth League should resume next month.
"We’ve got a pool of players and also there are players in the first team, so we’ve got a pool now which are part of the full-time programme, which is like the Professional Development Phase," he added. "We’ve got Under-17s, Under-18s, Under-19s, Under-20s and Under-21s and some of them are with the first team, which is great, and some of them are here under our care.
“So, the players not featuring in one team, they’ll work across different teams, and we’ll give them experiences that will aid their development."