United trio win Premier League Academy awards
Manchester United have enjoyed a successful night at the Premier League Virtual Academy Awards evening.
Although the ceremony was held remotely, the Premier League said "it was still important to recognise the many achievements and success stories across our Academies this season."
Marcus Rashford won the 2019/20 Academy Graduate award, succeeding Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold. The prize is handed out to those who have come through the Academy system and not only excelled with their on-field performances but also acted as role models.
"Thank you very much, on behalf of the Academy," said Rashford. "It's obviously a massive step up to get into the Manchester United first team but one that all the young kids are prepared to make because of the way the coaches coach them.
“It's definitely a big achievement and, like Mason [Greenwood] has done this year, and Brandon [Williams], hopefully there will be more who come through."
Tony Whelan picked up the Eamonn Dolan award, which looks to recognise an individual or group making an exceptional contribution to football coaching and/or coach development within the Academy environment.
United's Academy programme adviser joined the club back in 1990 and is a very worthy recipient of the award, named in the memory of the late Exeter City and Reading coach.
"I had the privilege of meeting Eamonn some years ago," said Tony. "He was always a very uplifting person and a wonderful coach and coach developer.
“I am very humble to receive this particular award in his honour and worthy of carrying on his legacy.
“But I don't think you ever win those awards on your own. People share it with you, who I've worked with over the years. It has been a privilege to work at the club with some wonderful people. They all share it with me. I dedicate it to them."
Meanwhile, James Garner won the Goal of the Season award for Premier League 2.
The midfielder scored eight goals in 10 appearances in the division last term, with the Reds in second place in the table when football was halted.
When we spoke to the 19-year-old and asked him to pick an Under-23s Goal of the Season, he said: "It would have to be my one! I'll go for the one at West Brom.
"The one I scored against Newcastle was very good as well but I will go with the West Bromwich one. That start to the season, with my two goals at West Brom, were up there among my highlights for the Under-23s."
“To achieve what Marcus has done on the field but also off it, with the humanitarian work, to receive an honorary doctorate at such a young age as well," said Whelan. "Everyone at the club is immensely proud of him.
“I've known Jimmy quite a long time. He's come through the MANUSS programme and it's wonderful to see him do well.
“Both of those boys have just been delightful to work with over the years and it's fantastic for us to get awards on the same day. I would never have thought that if you said it 10 years ago, that we'd all get awards together. It is what you dream about."
Congratulations to Marcus, Tony and James from everybody at Manchester United!