Woolston watches United training session

Friday 25 March 2022 10:19

Paul Woolston was invited to come and watch Manchester United’s first-team training at Carrington on Thursday, following the announcement that he will have to retire from professional football.

Wednesday’s unfortunate news that the 23-year-old goalkeeper is hanging up his gloves was met with an outpouring of well-wishes and messages of encouragement, particularly from senior United players.

David De Gea joined fellow keepers Dean Henderson, Tom Heaton and Lee Grant in supporting Paul, who has often joined in with senior sessions in the past.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great lad, a great goalkeeper and we all feel really sorry for him,” said De Gea.

“Of course, in life, sometimes problems happen and things happen. You have to keep looking forward, keep fighting and that is what life means. Like I say, I wish him all the best.”

Goalkeepers rally round Woolston


De Gea, Henderson, Heaton and Grant offer their support to Paul, following his retirement.

Paul, who signed for United from Newcastle in 2018 and represented our Under-23s side on several occasions, was forced to end his playing career after undergoing two operations and a lengthy rehabilitation period and he thanked those at the club who have helped.

“Everyone has played a major part in my journey by keeping my spirits up, allowing me to reflect positively on my playing experiences and begin to look to the future,” Paul said.

“Right now, I am fully focused on the next stage of my career. I am ready to use all of my learnings, resilience, drive and determination to make a real success of my life.”

Paul, who is being offered significant mentorship from across Manchester United to guide him into the next stage of his career, supported the Reds’ keepers in their work at the training ground.

The club’s senior goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis is keen to involve the young keeper as he transitions out of professional football.

“It was great to have Paul involved in training yesterday. He has trained with the first-team on several occasions and will always be welcome back to the club as part of our goalkeeping union,” Richard said.

“Naturally the entire department were all saddened to hear about Paul having to retire at such a young age. But he has responded to the unfortunate news in a typically impressive manner.

Woolston pictured with Nemanja Matic at training on Thursday.

“The Academy and the medical department have been fantastic with him and I know our age-group goalkeeping coaches, who have a long association with Paul, have provided him with invaluable support.

“We have senior goalkeepers offering advice and guidance through their leadership roles within the club and from positions they hold with external organisations such as the PFA.

“Paul is a strong and intelligent person and we all know that he has a really bright future ahead of him.”