Academy Weekly: Graduates reunited, Evans gives advice to youngsters

Tuesday 20 February 2024 08:18

Seven Academy graduates featured in Manchester United's Premier League victory over Luton Town on Sunday afternoon, including two for the opposition.

Everyone at the Academy was proud to see not only Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo, Jonny Evans and Scott McTominay in action for the travelling Reds, but also Tahith Chong and Teden Mengi playing for the Hatters.

Chong, 24, joined United aged 16 from Feyenoord and spent six years at the club, making 16 senior appearances. After a successful loan move with Birmingham City, he joined the Blues on a permanent basis in 2022 before Luton brought him in upon their promotion to the top flight.

As Nick Cox, our Director of Academy, remarked in his yearly review, "the journey towards success isn't linear."

Tahith's journey to becoming a Premier League regular has not been as linear as, for example, Garnacho's, and so he is a fantastic example of where hard work and determination can get you, even while things aren't progressing in exactly the direction you might expect.

Teden, meanwhile, left United this summer after more than a decade in our care. Seeing him and Kobbie in conversation at full-time of an enthralling Premier League game was certainly a proud moment for the Academy.

"When boys like Teden do well at their new clubs, there's a buzz around the place," Cox explained.

"Our job is to help young players reach their potential regardless of where this takes them, whether it be Luton for Teden and Tahith, our first-team for Alejandro and Kobbie or Reading for Charlie Savage, FC Utrecht for Zidane Iqbal or Bayer Leverkusen for Matej Kovar. We've very proud of all their progress."

Mengi jostling with Rashford in Sunday's game.

Like Tahith and most young players, Teden has had an up-and-down path to the Premier League, also enjoying a loan spell at Birmingham City as well as Derby County. He discussed his journey, and the valuable lessons he learnt in the Academy, in The Times ahead of the weekend's game.


We recently asked Jonny for his advice for Academy players at United.

"It’s important to stay close with your teammates - you’ll be friends for life," he said.

"Throughout my career, I’ve always felt a connection with the Academy players. And even whenever I left Manchester United in the past, you'd see all the Academy players around, you always feel like you've got a bond or a connection.

"You’ll experience incredible things together, so enjoy those moments on trips abroad or having a kick about before training or even when you’re just eating a meal together.

"You might not believe me, but these are some of the best moments of your football journey. Make sure you take the time to realise the privileged position you are in and enjoy every second.

Jonny's advice for youngsters at United: "Believe in your abilities, learn from those around you and apply yourself to the maximum."


Our Under-18s maintained their unbeaten status in the U18 Premier League with a 2-2 away draw at Nottingham Forest. Gabriele Biancheri scored the first goal and forced the second, where Forest’s Jimmy Sinclair turned it into his own net. The home side hit back immediately through Isaac Davies and then Adam Berry, and neither team could find a winner. You can watch highlights below.

U18s highlights: Forest v United Video

U18s highlights: Forest v United

Watch the key action from our Under-18s' clash with Nottingham Forest…


To celebrate the diversity at United, the Academy recently held a cultural event where players from our Under-8s team, and their families, learned from each other about different cultures and backgrounds across the globe.

Players and family members painted canvases that represented their backgrounds, got involved with an ‘around the world’ quiz, enjoyed trying food from different regions and finished with a World Cup-themed tournament.


Goals from Ethan Wheatley and player-coach Tom Huddlestone helped United to victory over Manchester City at Leigh Sports Village on Monday evening. The young Reds did well to hold on to the lead after Stephen Mfuni got one back for the visitors and Sam Mather received a 79th-minute red card.

U21s: United v City


Find out how our young Reds fared in Monday evening's PL2 clash at Leigh Sports Village.


The Under-18s host Middlesbrough on Saturday in a midday kick-off at Carrington. This match will be shown live on MUTV.