Mather: Maguire's team-talk gave us confidence

Thursday 10 March 2022 11:46

Manchester United Under-18s winger Sam Mather says club captain Harry Maguire’s pre-match speech gave the side confidence ahead of Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup semi-final victory over Wolves.

Two goals from Charlie McNeill sandwiched a brilliant strike from Alejandro Garnacho as United comfortably secured a spot in the FA Youth Cup final, for the first time since 2011.

First-team skipper Maguire was in attendance at Old Trafford, alongside team-mate Dean Henderson, as well as senior club figures John Murtough and Darren Fletcher.

FA Youth Cup: United 3 Wolves 0 Video

FA Youth Cup: United 3 Wolves 0

It was a night to remember at Old Trafford in the FA Youth Cup semi-final...

Before kick-off, Maguire spoke to the young Reds about a big night in their young careers.

“He was just saying good luck go and enjoy it, take it in,” Mather explained. “Because, obviously, we don’t know how many games we’re going to get to play at Old Trafford so, as a young lad doing it at such a young age, it’s such an amazing experience.

“To have Harry come in and speak to us before the game calms everyone down and makes everyone confident for the game.”

United looked confident throughout, with goalkeeper Radek Vitek remaining largely unchallenged for much of the game, even if the visitors did hit the woodwork in the first half, and Travis Binnion’s side enjoying several clear chances, putting three of them away.

The Under-18s will host one of Nottingham Forest and Chelsea in the final with their last-four clash set to take place on Monday 4 April, at The City Ground.

“Obviously, it’s a massive moment for us,” defender Tyler Fredricson said.

“It’s a massive competition, [there’s] massive history in the club about this competition. Eleven years since we got to the final, it’s a massive moment in front of our fans and family. It’s big for us.”

Mather added: “It’s an amazing feeling, the mood in the changing room is amazing, everyone’s buzzing and the boys are delighted. We’ve just got to stay focused now; hopefully, we can get the job done in the final, but we’ve got a few games coming up, so we’ve got to focus on them and then get back to the Youth Cup.”

'The dressing room is buzzing' Video

'The dressing room is buzzing'

Winger Sam Mather reflects on an FA Youth Cup semi-final victory at Old Trafford...

United are the most successful club in FA Youth Cup history, having lifted the trophy on 10 occasions and reached a further four finals. Our last victory in the competition was in 2011, and left-back Sam Murray says that side act as an inspiration for the current squad.

“You see Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, when they lifted it in 2011, and that’s what we’re told: it’s our time now, and try to bring it back,” Murray told us post-match.

A crowd of 6,133 watched an unforgettable Old Trafford night for these boys unfold, and there is no doubt be many more fans are likely to watch an historic final. Details on the opposition and date of that fixture, as well as ticketing and broadcast information, will be communicated as soon as possible.