Ryan keen to bridge the gap
Manchester United Under-18s head coach Neil Ryan has explained how matches have been arranged at Under-17s level to provide a bridge for some of his first-year scholars.
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes organising fixtures at the younger level, with a recent friendly against Sheffield United just one example of ensuring playing time for members of the squad.Ryan, the former Under-16s coach at the club, is mindful that each player needs their own individual plan and develops at his own pace.
”It’s very challenging to give them [the Academy players] game time,” he told MUTV. “Everyone wants to play and start for the Under-18s but we have got a big squad. A lot of the first-year boys, at times, play in the Under-17s and we have our own Under-17s programme. Those boys understand that, at times, they might not always be involved in the starting XI with the youth team on a Saturday but we’ll make sure the games they need.”Each player really has his own development pathway – some are starting in the youth team and playing every game and others are on a different pathway. It could be physical maturity, it can be playing for the Under-17s is right for them and others have got to fight for a place. There is competition in training to get into the team now which is good and healthy. It’s been very competitive in regards to all the training we’ve been doing – individual work, working in units, working with the team and with the group. So we’re in a healthy situation at the moment with the numbers and it’s been really good.”