Alejandro Garnacho.

United's Academy new boys settling in

Wednesday 16 December 2020 15:07

Manchester United Under-18s lead coach Neil Ryan feels the later batch of close-season arrivals to the Academy have now settled within the group.

This year has thrown up unprecedented difficulties for everybody within football, not least players moving to new clubs and integrating with their new colleagues while having to follow Government guidelines and COVID-19 protocols.

Several overseas signings arrived in Manchester and were forced to self-quarantine and some have, naturally, taken longer than others to grow accustomed to their new surroundings.

Marc Jurado on the ball in the recent win at Wolves.

With the Under-18s in action on Thursday against Leeds United (11:30 GMT), before the Under-23s are at Chelsea in Premier League 2 on Friday (12:00 GMT kick-off), there should be more opportunities to see the youngsters, as both games are live on MUTV.

Alvaro Fernandez has swiftly stepped up to the Under-23s, and has scored for both Academy teams already despite being a defender, while his fellow Spaniard Marc Jurado will hope for another outing with Ryan's side. A third Spaniard, Alejandro Garnacho, has already got off the mark for the Under-18s (against Everton), as has Norwegian Isak Hansen (versus Middlesbrough). 

Willy Kambwala has unfortunately picked up an injury but made an assured debut in a win  over Derby County.

 “I think they’ve settled in really well,” Ryan said of the latest signings, in the weekend copy of United Review, the official matchday programme. “Some a lot quicker than others but we’ve had boys coming from Spain, France, Czech Republic [goalkeeper Radek Vitek earlier in the summer] and all over the continent. At times, it’s been challenging for me with my Spanish and French as I’m not great in those languages!

“I’m working at it but, more importantly, they’re working hard at their English and adapting to training and the demands, the club standards we want from the boys. In the current situation the world is in, there’s a limited time we can spend with the boys but it’s about building those friendships and the dialogue with them.

Isak Hansen celebrates his first goal for the club - in the victory at Middlesbrough.

"They have the talent, that’s why they’re here, and it’s pleasing to see them all contributing to the team," explained Ryan. "They’re getting used to the weather in Manchester and, of course, being around this club.

“It’s not an easy thing to walk into such a fantastic place, and it’s got its challenges for them, but they’re all coping really well and long may it continue.”

Take advantage of MUTV's special 12 months for the price of six offer and watch both Academy matches live this week.