'It's the best place in the world for me'
Quinton Fortune is embracing his new role as Manchester United's Under-23s assistant coach with his usual enthusiasm and endeavour.
The former South Africa international is naturally delighted to be back with the Reds and is passing on his knowledge to the young group, while working with new lead coach Neil Wood.
The recent training camp in Austria enabled Fortune to make a positive early impression on the squad and it is clear he is already relishing the start of the new Premier League 2 campaign.
“I’m coaching and trying to give as much of my knowledge, of my experience to the players and assist Woody as much as possible, and prepare them for our first game,” Fortune told MUTV.
“It’s the best place in the world because, for me, it’s the closest thing to playing.
"I get to be on the pitch with the players and I’m excited every day to work with these players and, hopefully, we can prepare them as well as possible for the first team.
“This is something I’ve been working on for the last couple of years and I always wanted to be a part of the coaching staff. Being a player was obviously fantastic but, to be on this side now and thinking about sessions every day and preparing the players, thinking about the standards we set for them training and the behaviours, it’s amazing because you’re working with high-quality players.
"The goal is just to prepare them as well as possible for when the boss thinks they are ready for the first team.
Although he has been busy setting up the Quinton Fortune Academy, dealing with much younger age groups, he jumped at the chance to return to the club where he made 126 appearances.
“We spoke about it for a couple of weeks,” he revealed.
“But I didn't want to get ahead of myself by going out and saying I'd got the job. I was just being patient until the club confirmed it and then I told some close friends.
”You guys know me and have worked with me for the last couple of years and you know how passionate I am about Manchester United. So, to be able to be in this position is a privilege and an honour and I will do everything I can to help these players and make them strong mentally and physically, and help Woody to prepare a good Under-23s team. Our most important aim is that players can make the first team and then we're doing the right thing.
The Under-23s have been told to enjoy themselves in this professional environment and embrace the challenge of representing a club like Manchester United.
“It’s the best time of their lives!” enthused Fortune.
“I just said to one of the coaches that we had a football pitch in Austria that, even when we come a long way from the Aon Training Complex, we can turn the water on whenever we want. I’m thinking: ‘This is unbelievable.' And we’re not even at Carrington!
”There’s no excuse: as coaches, as players, it’s now us coming together and having to find the best way to prepare these players as well as possible. They have to realise they need each other and have to depend on each other and then you’re on the right track.
“There are some fantastic young players in there and I’m just excited to be working with them.”
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