Dempsey: Young Reds have acquitted themselves well

Wednesday 07 December 2022 14:49

Manchester United Under-21s coach Mark Dempsey says the young Reds who are on our winter training camp with the senior group have “acquitted themselves really well” during the time away over recent days.

The United squad that is currently in Spain boasts a strong Academy contingent with several members of Erik ten Hag’s senior side still absent, following their ongoing exploits at the World Cup.

It’s provided an invaluable experience for a handful of the club’s young players, who have had the opportunity to spend some time with their experienced colleagues, both on and off the pitch. 

Dempsey is in Spain as part of the coaching staff to help oversee that dynamic but admits that the youngsters haven’t needed much guidance from him at all, while they’ve been at the camp.
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“They don’t need much help, they’ve equipped themselves really well, they’ve behaved how we wanted them to behave, and they’ve acquitted themselves really well on the training field as well,” the Academy coach explained during his appearance on this week’s episode of The Debate.

“It’s a great opportunity for them. They get tested physically, mentally more than anything. They’ve had tough sessions, but, as I said before, they’ve coped really well with them and now the icing on the cake is being part of a first-team Manchester United side and going out and representing yourself and representing the Academy. We look forward to it.

“It’s a much bigger world now. When I travelled with the first team, it was all very close, there wasn’t many people around, it was far more intimate, if you like,” he added.

“But now, there’s so many people that you deal with that it’s important they realise everyone at the football club is just as important as the gaffer, Mitch and they have to treat them with the same respect. It’s a great learning curve for them.”
Dempsey was joined on the show by fellow ex-Red Danny Webber, club journalist Sam Carney and presenter Ben Ibson to break down the latest from the training camp in southern Spain. 

He explained how the young players have fared as part of the group, and how they’ve been taken care of by their more experienced companions, including those who have come through the system themselves.

“They’re always great," he added. "Whenever a young player goes with the older players, they look after you. I wouldn’t expect anything else from Manchester United players. They’re all part of the same family. 

“A lot of them know each other. If you think about Anthony Elanga’s been through the system and now feeding down to Shola [Shoretire] and Shola’s feeding down.

“There’s a continual thread through. They all understand what’s required and I think that’s vital.”
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Having trained with the senior side over recent days, a number of the young Reds could be involved in our first friendly of the trip, against Cadiz this evening – a game that will be shown live on MUTV. 

In the days that follow, several of the youngsters are then set to fly home ahead of the start of our FA Youth Cup defence, away to Crystal Palace on Sunday – another fixture that you will be able to see live on MUTV.

“There’s nothing better than being part of a first-team environment and then going back with your own peers, and you feel 10-foot tall,” Dempsey explained. “They’ll get tested on Sunday at Crystal Palace.

“It gives confidence, it gives self-belief. The biggest thing is, when they’re here together, 12, 13 of them, it’s great because they’ve got to dig in together and look after each other’s backs. If one of them is coming off track a little bit, it might just need a word from one of the higher ones.

“You’re talking about a team within a team really. I’m sure they’ll really enjoy the experience and benefit from it going into the game on Sunday.”