click to go to homepage
Ricky Sbragia is busy drilling his players with instructions.

Sbragia to test new formation with Under-23s

Ricky Sbragia will test his tactics and formation in Friday night's pre-season friendly with Northampton Town, live on MUTV.

The Manchester United Under-23s coach is aware it will be a physical test against the Cobblers, but is hoping all the good work in training is going to be put into practice.

With several youngsters on Tour 2018, presented by Aon, there are likely to be opportunities for some of the Under-18s. ”It will be difficult,” he told MUTV. “We’re down to about 16 [players], so there’s an opportunity then for some of the first-years and second-years obviously to come in and get some football with us.

United's Under-23s are put through their paces.
It's been a demanding return to pre-season for the Under-23s.

”It’s like everything else. They’ll be gearing up to the season starting. I think they’ll be slightly ahead of us in pre-season, in training, but we’ve worked extremely hard, we’ve done a lot of football now and a lot of the shape and we’re going to give everybody the opportunity to play football and get as many minutes over the next four pre-season games.

”I can see Northampton being the main game, I can see that. They’ll change it around, they’ll be there to beat us, as much as we want to beat them, but I can see that being a very physical game on Friday.”

There are plans for the younger sides to all play the same way in 2018/19, something that was discussed and debated at length during the training camp in Austria.

”We’ve been working on what formation we are going to play,” explained Sbragia. “We’ve been told what system we have to play, so we’ve been working around that. I think the great thing over in Austria was we could spend a little bit more time working around little situations, where we want them to be and their responsibilities - both on and off the field.

Ricky Sbragia watches on as his players do sprinting sessions.
Ricky Sbragia watches on as the players take part in sprinting sessions.

”We had a chat with the Academy side as well and that’s a great thing here, we’re all together. We can sit, communicate, find out information from people and learn from them and learn from their knowledge as well. We were talking about maybe altering the set-plays.

“Should we replicate that all the way down? From us down to the Under-16s and the Under-18s? It’s much debated information but it has been great and I think, in general, we look as if we’ve got this formation. We will change it now and again, but there is a main formation that we’re going to play.”