It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for Manchester United’s youth sides.
– Ricky Sbragia re-appointed U23s manager, 12 years after leaving
– U23s draw 2-2 with Salford City
– U23s beat a Bradford City XI 2-1 in friendly
Ricky Sbragia was re-appointed Man United under-23s manager, 12 years after he left the role. Sbragia had been working with the Scottish FA, including with United midfielder Ethan Hamilton as he managed the Scots’ under-19 side in Euro qualifying.
Sbragia managed the under-21s from 2002 to 2005 with notable success. He told the club’s official website that he “couldn’t be happier to be back at Manchester United.”
“It’s an exciting time for the club, with a new structure for the Academy and a relatively new set of coaches and management team. I am really excited by the challenge of this role, the club has always been at the forefront when it comes to Academy football and I am delighted that the club continues to strive to be the best with its forward-thinking ideas for the future of youth football.”
Nicky Butt, Head of the Academy, said: “Ricky brings a wealth of experience at all levels of football coaching. He has a great track record of developing young talent and is, of course, no stranger to Manchester United.
“Ricky’s knowledge and experience will help continue our important and key tradition of blooding young players into the first team. I am delighted Ricky has returned to the club in this important role as we look to continue our development of the Academy.”
Salford City 2-2 Man Utd U23 [Maynard, Burton – Gribbin, Scott]
He managed his first game in Austria while the Reserves had a pre-season training camp in a beautiful mountainous setting. His first game back on English soil was a 2-2 draw with the Class of ’92-owned Salford City. Two second half goals, from Callum Gribbin and Charlie Scott, got United a draw after Salford had taken a two-goal first-half lead thanks to a quickfire double from Lois Maynard and Scott Burton.
Gribbin scored with a long-range shot that squeezed through the hands of Salford’s goalkeeper, the lashing rain not helping Tony Aghayere. Gribbin tweeted after the game, “very lucky to get a goal myself.” Scott finished well after a ball from DJ Buffonge.
Bradford City XI 1-2 Man Utd U23 [Trialist – Dearnley, Buffonge]
Buffonge was key in United beating a Bradford City XI 2-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Bantams’ training ground.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was in action at left-back while Joe Riley got a full 90 minutes under his belt on the right-wing as he returns from a shoulder injury suffered on loan at Sheffield United last season.
DJ Buffonge made and scored a goal as the Reds came from behind to win. He set up Zak Dearnley minutes after coming on for Callum Gribbin, before netting a 51st penalty to take United in front, a lead which they maintained.
– Man Utd win SuperCupNI Challenge Match vs Northern Ireland
– U17 side beat Lincoln City U18s 2-0
– Gabriel Martinelli comes back to Man Utd on trial
– Otten Cup fixtures revealed
A fantastic 9th-minute half-volley from Swiss striker Nishan Burkart saw Man United’s under-18s triumph over Northern Ireland in a Challenge Match at SuperCupNI (formerly the Milk Cup). The under-15s competed in the tournament proper, scroll down for full details on that.
Northern Ireland U18 0-1 Man Utd U18 [Burkart]
The Challenge Match acted as a curtain raiser for the tournament, which began the following day.
United got to play in front of a crowd thought to be over 2,000, with kick-off delayed as fans arrived in such large numbers.
Left-back Brandon Williams and 15-year-old striker Mason Greenwood both impressed. Greenwood scored a hat-trick on his debut for the under-18s, a friendly in Austria during the pre-season training camp. Millen Baars, meanwhile, has finally been given international clearance and started for the Reds.
Captain Callum Whelan made United’s only goal, delivering a ball into space in the area from deep. Burkart let the cross come across his body and struck it on the half-volley past the Northern Irish goalkeeper Larkin.
Lincoln City U18 0-2 Man Utd U17 [Williams, Baars]
On Wednesday evening, an under-17s side beat Lincoln City 2-0 at Sincil Bank, once more in front of over 2,000 fans. United could have been 3-0 up by half-time, but Lincoln goalkeeper Antkowiak was in fine form. He made brilliant saves to deny Max Dunne on three occasions as well as Mason Greenwood and D’Mani Bughail-Mellor.
Brandon Williams finally gave United the lead in the 75th minute, converting from a Millen Baars cross.
The Dutchman started the game but came back on as United operated a rolling subs policy. That assist was a minute after he was brought on, and he curled in a second for United in the 89th minute.
Playing for United against Lincoln City was Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli. The 16-year-old Ituano forward was a substitute and is on trial at the club. He’s travelled to Manchester on a number of occasions before on trial, having scored 14 goals in 14 games this season for Ituano’s under-17 side and played above his age group with the under-20s.
Finally, in under-18s news, United’s fixtures for the Otten Cup have been announced. The Reds are in Group A with Cruzeiro EC (Brazil), Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany) and Inter Milan (Italy). They’ll play the latter two on Saturday, August 5th having played Cruzeiro the previous afternoon. It’s a fantastic tournament every year, and will be good for United’s under-19 squad that travels to the Netherlands.
The under-15s are in SuperCupNI Globe tournament semi-finals. Formerly called the Milk Cup, United are back in the competition after a two-year absence, having previously had a 25-year association with it. The under-15s are playing in the Junior section. Each team plays three games before the section is split into groups, competing for trophies of varying prestige.
Colina U15 0-3 Man Utd U15 [Elanga, Mengi x2]
United began their campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Chilean side Colina. Anthony Elanga scored a 10th-minute penalty before centre-back Teden Mengi scored twice, either side of half-time.Manager Neil Ryan was more pleased with United’s second game of the tournament, a 4-2 victory against Co. Fermanagh. Mipo Odubeko scored a double while Teden Mengi and Charlie Wellens also netted.
Man Utd U15 4-2 Co. Fermanagh U15 [Odubeko x2, Mengi, Wellens]
Manager Neil Ryan was more pleased with United’s second game of the tournament, a 4-2 victory against Co. Fermanagh. Mipo Odubeko scored a double while Teden Mengi and Charlie Wellens also netted.
Odubeko’s first came after a fantastic through ball by Shola Shoretire, a 13-year-old playing well above his age group and impressing hugely despite his small stature.
Utd trialist goalkeeper Ondrej Mastny spilt a free-kick to allow Eimhin Curran to equalise.
Odubeko headed in a second of the game thanks to Sam Sharrock-Peplow’s perfect cross from the left flank.
A poor backpass from George Wyatt allowed Curran to equalise once again, with Mastny unable to clear his lines as he rushed out to meet the weak pass from his defender.
United’s Teden Mengi headed home a third, and his third of the tournament after grabbing two against Colina yesterday, from a Sharrock-Peplow corner. Charlie Wellens sealed the victory with a fantastic finish as the ball appeared to be running away from him in the penalty area, tucking it under the crossbar.
Man Utd U15 0-2 Southampton U15
The Reds needed a win against Southampton to ensure qualification for the main SuperCupNI semi-finals, the highest tier of the competition. A Ben Pleavin own goal was a bad start for United and Southampton’s Frank Lovett capitalised on a loose ball to double the Saints’ lead within the opening 15 minutes. They held on for three points while United dropped down to the second tier of the Junior section.
They’ll play Co. Armagh on Thursday afternoon in the semi-final of the Globe tier of SuperCupNI.
The under-14s are preparing to go to Sheffield for the Youdan Trophy, where they’ve been grouped with Maiden City, Seattle Sounders, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. That competition starts on July 31st.