Under-23s back in pre-season mode
Manchester United's Under-23s are back in pre-season mode as Neil Wood's side prepare for more challenges in 2020/21.
The youngsters were well looked after during lockdown and have returned in good shape, with Wood expecting to field a very young side in the top division of Premier League 2, after the team's promotion was confirmed recently.
Our participation in the EFL Trophy for a second successive season has also been finalised, while an Under-19s team will take on the cream of Europe in the UEFA Youth League.
An opening pre-season friendly took place behind closed doors against a Salford City XI on Wednesday, with more games already confirmed against Swindon Town and Morecambe next week.
It provided a good work-out for the Under-23s with minutes under the belt probably more important than ever following the lengthy period without competitive football.
"We've been in a few weeks and the lads have come back fit, as you'd expect," Wood told us. "They look after themselves and have all followed their individual programmes over lockdown, and all followed the off-season programmes.
“They're looking well but I think it's going to be different from last season. It's a very young squad and it's going to be challenging, especially going into a higher division against better teams.
“Sometimes, when Manchester United are coming to town, teams like to add senior pros into it so it will be challenging and we know that as a club.
"We know we've got to push the lads hard and there will be some tough days ahead for them," he explained.
“The important thing is we continue the development plan and keep working on getting individuals into the first team, and playing the right way.
“It might take one or two years for the full potential to come out but, in the short term, it's a good challenge for them.”
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