Ryan believes Reds need a large Under-18s squad
Manchester United Under-18s lead coach Neil Ryan is grateful he should have a large squad at his disposal next season with many challenges on the horizon.
The group has been boosted by the promotion of 11 first-year scholars, with the likelihood that more new names will follow once international clearance is received.
After a productive week in Austria at the Academy training camp, there has been ample opportunity for the youngsters to bond and build team spirit ahead of the big kick-off. It is anticipated that competition for places will help keep everybody on their toes.
Also, Mason Greenwood may be impressing for the first team on Tour 2019 but he remains eligible for the Under-18s next term.
"It’s a big number of boys," Ryan told MUTV recently. "We’ve got decent numbers but, as tends to happen, we’ll have boys who go to the Under-23s and you’ll see certain boys who pick up knocks and niggles. We’re managing a big number at the moment but that’s great and we’re getting some really good training in.
"We have a couple of injuries that really carried on from last season but, this year, the boys have been in good form and they're working hard. Everyone is really pushing themselves. We want to keep them as fit and fresh as we can, and that’s the job of all the staff behind the scenes to monitor that and make sure we’re ready to go for the games coming up."
The teenagers promoted from the Under-16s will appreciate it is a step up for them but those with a full campaign at Under-18s level already under their belts will be expected to take greater responsibility.
"It’s great when the new intake of players come in and they’re starting their lives as young professionals," added Ryan. "It’s the day-in-day-out mentality and focus and they’re the things we’re trying to drive and instil in them and keep the intensity going in training as the weeks go on.
"Then we’re building up to games and pre-season friendlies and so on and, obviously, the second-year boys return with the experience of already having done that and they’re now expected to drive the group and show the standards that are expected.
"Everyone’s got their own individual challenges but, as a group, it’s important we get them fit, prepared and ready and get some team building ready for the season ahead."