Under-18s "buzzing" for Old Trafford semi-final

Wednesday 09 March 2022 14:00

Manchester United’s Under-18s are relishing the opportunity to once again walk out at Old Trafford in front of the club’s supporters as they look to make further progress in the FA Youth Cup.

Our run to the semi-final has included already great goals, impressive moments of defending, and some notable defence-splitting passes, but more important than all of that has been the repeated experience of playing at the Theatre of Dreams.

The third round provided that first opportunity as the Reds defeated Scunthorpe United at home. Victory away at Reading preceded another couple of home fixtures in M16, first against Everton and then Leicester City.

“It’s been amazing playing at Old Trafford, it’s just been a great experience, the atmosphere at the stadium has been amazing,” said midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who has scored twice in the competition.

FA Youth Cup: The story so far


How our Under-18s made it into the final of the prestigious competition.

“The first time playing there was a bit nerve-wracking but as we’ve gone on, the nerves have turned into a bit more of excitement.”

Mainoo’s fellow midfielder Dan Gore described the feeling of “playing at the best stadium in England” as “incomparable,” while forward Sam Mather explained how it feels to score at the Theatre of Dreams.

“It was one of the best feelings of my life,” he said. “I’ve never felt anything like that before. Scoring in front of fans, not just in front of your coaches and your team-mates, and with all the fans cheering, your family there at Old Trafford, it’s a big feeling and a big moment and something I’ll never forget.”

Rhys Bennett, who has captained the side in the last two rounds, insists it’s an experience he makes the most of every time.

“I can’t take it for granted,” the 18-year-old said.

“You don’t know how many times you’re going to step out at Old Trafford. Every single time you do you’ve got to just embrace it, go and give your all and keep working hard to play as many games at Old Trafford as possible. I love it every time I step out, it’s just an amazing feeling.”

FA Youth Cup: United 4 Everton 1 Video

FA Youth Cup: United 4 Everton 1

Watch the goals from our FA Youth Cup win over Everton, and stay until the end for Garnacho's solo effort...

United have been rocked on two occasions by conceding early goals, to Everton and then Leicester, but have showed resilience to come from behind in both games.

“That’s given us a lot of confidence, to be honest,” striker Charlie McNeill explained.

“Coming from behind in those sort of games can be really hard sometimes, some teams can drop their heads, and lose focus, whereas we stuck together as a team, we came back and beat both teams and now we’re here. So that’s really good for us.”

Charlie McNeill says

“I can’t wait, we’re all looking forward to it, the mood around the training ground is really good, everyone’s excited for the game and now we’re fully focused on Wednesday and ready to go.”

The first team's interim manager Ralf Rangnick watched the young Reds' quarter-final win over Leicester, and more eyes are drawn to this team’s progress as it continues.

This evening’s match, which kicks off at 19:00 GMT and will be shown live in the UK on MUTV, ManUtd.com and the United App, is another big opportunity for these players.

“We’re buzzing and looking forward to the game,” added Sam Mather.

“The games are getting bigger and bigger and obviously the nerves start kicking in but seeing the fans cheering United, talking about United in the semi-final, it’s a big feeling and everyone’s buzzing for the game."