Brandon Williams prepares to come off the bench.

Williams is latest Academy inspiration

Tuesday 05 November 2019 10:04

Manchester United Under-18s lead coach Neil Ryan says Brandon Williams is the latest inspiration for his young players.

The full-back, who only turned 19 in September, caught the eye as a late substitute in the game at Bournemouth on Saturday to build on his previous outing - a great shift at Stamford Bridge during the Carabao Cup triumph over Chelsea.

In a short space of time, since making his debut against Rochdale, he has already managed six appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's senior side.

Mason Greenwood almost scored at Bournemouth when his far-post effort hit the woodwork.

With Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes also regularly involved with the first team, there is no shortage of role models at the club for the Under-18s learning their trade at the Aon Training Complex.

"I just think Brandon is another inspiration for all the players," Ryan explained to us. "You're always looking at the players ahead of you and, if you see someone like Brandon step up for the first team, and have a great debut and do well in prestigious games, it was great to see another Academy boy step up when called upon.

"It should really inspire all the other younger players within the Academy, from whatever age, to look for the next step and challenge themselves. You never quite know, until you're in that situation, how you are going to cope or how you will perform. If you don't do great, it doesn't matter as it's about development and, the next time, you've got to be ready when you get that next opportunity.

"It's what we're about - stretching and challenging individual players so, when the opportunity comes, hopefully the manager recognises they're prepared for that and they get their opportunity."

Neil Ryan believes the Trophy is providing valuable experience.

While Thursday's Europa League tie with Partizan Belgrade may offer more chances for younger members of Ole's squad, some of Ryan's group have taken part in the Trophy group stages this term.

A first entry into the competition has proved hugely beneficial and the Reds have already qualified for the knockout stages with three wins out of three - against Rotherham United, Lincoln City and Doncaster Rovers.

Watch highlights of the Trophy win at Doncaster.

"It's been brilliant," enthused Ryan. "A number of the Under-18s have been involved with Neil Wood and Nicky Butt and it's been fantastic to see them step up. 

"They're in stadiums, with crowds, and are at full stretch. Reece Devine, Anthony Elanga and Teden Mengi have been playing against some first-team players and it's a real assimilation of a first-team environment. We want to test them and it can be easier on a Saturday morning at a training ground.

"These games are under floodlights, in a pressured environment and it's a real challenge to see if they can cope."

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