How is the Manchester United Academy performing after a summer of restructuring? Who will be the next players to break through? Stephen Howson is joined by MUFC Youth historian and author Tony Park to discuss. Nicky Butt has made some big changes at the club with Kieran McKenna taking over the U18’s with his first match being the 5-1 victory over Middlesbrough at the AON Training Complex on Saturday. Before that, United U18’s beat Everton by the same scoreline, a 5-1 victory, scoring ten goals and conceding twice in two matches. United had made the signings of Lee O’Connor, Tahith Chong, Nishan Burkhart and others this summer, which has given the Academy some more talent to kickstart their season after last, which saw Paul McGuinness leave the club, Nicky Butt become overall head of the Academy and put United back on track to developing the best talent in Europe, like they have done for many years already.
Speaking about his role at Manchester United with the U18’s McKenna, a boyhood United supporter, said:
“It’s been excellent. I’ve been here about a week now, getting to know the staff, the players and everyone in the building. Everyone has been very welcoming and it helps that I knew quite a few of the staff already and had a good relationship with some of the people here.
“I feel I’ve slotted in very quickly and the work with the boys on the grass has all gone extremely well so it’s been very smooth so far.
“I was involved with Tottenham since a 14-year-old lad coming across from Ireland to train with the youth team there. I was full-time since 16 and had seven fantastic years as a player. Obviously, the last couple were heavily disrupted by injury and I finished my playing career at 23 years old.
“I learned a lot and Tottenham have had a lot of success with Academy and I’m sure they will continue to do so now. To go to Manchester United, there is no bigger move you can make, it’s another fantastic Academy and it’s a dream come true really. I was a massive United fan, my dad brought me over to my first game in the 1994 season to see them lift the Premier League trophy.”