Academy coaching update for 2023/24

Wednesday 19 July 2023 11:00

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, Manchester United has announced a new coaching staff structure for the Academy’s Professional Development Phase (U18s-U21s).

A number of staff have taken on new roles and duties ahead of the new campaign. This is commonplace across the Academy to ensure that each group of players is offered complete support and staff have the opportunity to be challenged and develop professionally.

Travis Binnion will lead the Under-21s whilst continuing to oversee the development of all players aged 18 and above in his capacity of head of player development and coaching.

Adam Lawrence will lead the Under-18s, having previously taken the Under-16s side. He will also continue his role as head of player development (U13-U16) to ensure a smooth transition for players as they begin their scholarships.

Martin Drury will lead the Under-16 age group, having joined the club at the start of last season to lead the Under-15s. The group will continue to work closely with the Under-18s on a day-to-day basis, the Academy continues to be dedicated to accelerated learning, creating a challenging, yet supportive, environment which tests players with new and, at times, difficult situations in order to promote development.

Paul McShane becomes a lead coach, taking on the Under-15s role.

Paul McShane will lead the U15s age group, further developing his skills as a lead coach. McShane provided excellent support to the Under-18s and Under-21s as an assistant coach in recent seasons, he will remain heavily involved with the PDP groups passing on his expert knowledge, gained by playing in more than 400 club games and 33 international fixtures, to United’s young defenders.

Mark Dempsey will continue his role as senior Academy coach, mentoring staff and supporting players across the age groups to ensure individuals reach their full potential. He will also work closely with players out on loan and take an active role in player recruitment. He will continue to play a pivotal role in designing the Academy’s world-class learning environment.

David Hughes and Colin Little will work flexibly across the Professional Development Phase to provide expert knowledge and support to United’s young players.

Lead goalkeeper coach, Tommy Lee, will primarily work with the Under-21s group, whilst Kevin Wolfe, Academy goalkeeper coach, will work with the Under-18s keepers for their innovative games programmes.

Tom Huddlestone will continue his role as Academy player coach, primarily working with the U21s. He will create various unique development opportunities by coaching from within training sessions and driving daily standards on and off the pitch.

As director of Academy, Nick Cox, will provide expert oversight of the phase and work with Darren Fletcher to continue the seamless link between the Academy and first team.

The Academy will take a bespoke approach to player development, focusing on supporting individuals to reach their potential by working with specialist coaches at optimal times.

Players will each take part in individualised and varied games programmes. They will have the opportunity to play in a variety of fixtures and competitions including: Under-17s games, Under-18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League, Premier League 2, EFL Trophy, first-team fixtures with a loan club or United first-team fixtures.

Director of Academy Nick Cox, pictured with Kobbie Mainoo.

Director of Academy Nick Cox said “We are really pleased to, once again, assemble a fantastic group of coaches with an excellent set of complementary skills that will best support our Professional Development Phase group.

“Travis and Adam are outstanding coaches who will lead individualised development programmes for both the Under-21s and Under-18s throughout their bespoke games programmes. We have designed a world-class learning environment for our staff and take great pride in supporting and witnessing their progression.

“We always planned for Mark to be lead coach for one year, rotation is important for players and staff development. Mark did a fantastic job with the Under-21s and was pivotal to the Academy’s successful season, supporting Kobbie [Mainoo] and Charlie [McNeill] in making their first-team debuts.

“Mark’s outstanding leadership of our Academy coaching programme, coupled with his knowledge of the club and infectious personality mean that he will continue to be vital to everything that we set out to achieve.

“We continue to build on the success of last season, striving to maximise each player's potential, provide life-enriching experiences for all of our young people and support Erik ten Hag in building a winning first-team.”