U21s relishing Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford

Friday 26 January 2024 13:12

While Erik ten Hag’s senior Reds are away on Emirates FA Cup duty this weekend, Manchester United’s Under-21s will have the chance to take to the Old Trafford turf.

Travis Binnion’s team are set to take on Norwich City in M16, as our Premier League 2 campaign continues with Saturday's 15:00 GMT kick-off.

Tickets are available for as little as £3 for adults and £1.50 for under-16s, so why not come down and cheer the young Reds on, as they take to the pitch at the Theatre of Dreams?

The experience and impact of such an opportunity for our young players should never be underestimated, nor should the show of support they receive from the United fans on every Old Trafford occasion.

“It's massive every time,” says Under-21s defender Sonny Aljofree, a member of the squad that won the 2022 FA Youth Cup in front of a 67,000-strong crowd at our home ground.

“I always say United have got the best fan base in the world and you can feel that when we're on the pitch. We played Leeds earlier on in the season and there was a good turnout there and they drove us on, and I think it really helps us in our performances. 

“It gives us that extra boost, like the 12th man on the pitch.”
Aljofree was speaking in a side-by-side interview with team-mate Toby Collyer at Carrington this week, where preparations are ongoing for Saturday’s M16 fixture against the Canaries.

Central midfielder Collyer shared an insight into the messages given to the young Reds by Professional Development Phase lead Binnion in the build-up, with the challenge for the players to channel such a stage into a positive performance.

“I think you just have to enjoy it, that's the main thing,” Collyer says, when asked about this week’s instructions from Binnion and the coaching staff.

“Obviously, you treat every game the same, as you should, treat every game equally and respect the opposition, no matter whether it’s home or away, whether it's at Old Trafford or whether it's here at Carrington. 

“So, I think the main thing, like I said, is they just tell us to enjoy it, embrace it and give it our best.”
Under-21s preview Old Trafford clash Video

Under-21s preview Old Trafford clash

Our Under-21s are looking forward to the experience of playing at Old Trafford in Premier League 2 on Saturday...

Our young players are no strangers to Old Trafford games and many that will be involved on Saturday will have featured in at least one of the two Academy matches contested at the stadium in 2023/24, against Derby County and Leeds United.

James Scanlon played in the first of those fixtures – an FA Youth Cup third-round win – and discussed this week the importance of remaining focused on the task at hand on the pitch, regardless of the setting that surrounds it.

“You have to enjoy the occasion,” began the midfielder, who also spoke to club media, alongside team-mate Sam Mather.

“But I think once the game starts, you sort of have to just switch off the distractions and remember the game plan and what you're trying to do, and just block out any noise.”

Mather, like Aljofree, was a member of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning squad at Old Trafford in 2022, and explains this weekend’s squad can be inspired by past experiences in M16.

“Obviously we know big things have happened at Old Trafford,” the winger says. “We as a group obviously achieved something big as well playing there, and even witnessing a big crowd there, playing in front of them. 

“So yeah, it's things that come in the future that we will take that experience into, especially on Saturday, and just enjoy the moment to be honest.”

Tickets for United’s Premier League 2 clash with Norwich are available here. The game cannot be shown live on MUTV due to broadcasting regulations.

U21s highlights: United v Newcastle Video

U21s highlights: United v Newcastle

Reaction from Travis Binnion follows highlights of an entertaining Premier League 2 duel between United and Newcastle...


As this will be the Under-21s home game that falls closest to the date of the Munich Air Disaster, 6 February, United's players will wear black armbands and the managers will lay remembrance wreaths on the pitch ahead of kick-off.

More details of how the club will mark the anniversary of the tragic events in 1958 will be announced in due course.