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Scholes and Butt coaching our lads in Europe

This season a new competition has started for Under 19 teams of all the Champions League qualifiers. The teams are all in the same groups of 4 as the senior teams are and the top 2 go through to the next round.

United are at a bit of a disadvantage over some of their rivals as United don’t usually have an U-19 team, instead having an U-18 team and an U-21. Nicky Butt is in charge of the team with Paul Scholes as his assistant.

It’s been a mixed bag of results so far with United winning the opening game against Bayer Leverkusen at Salford, 4-3, with the winning goal coming from the spot in the last minute following a see-saw game

The second game saw us go down 2-1, away at Donestk, with United falling victim to a late goal.

Next game saw Real Sociedad visit Salford and although the 1-0 loss suggests a close game, the truth is that they took United apart and should have won by a few more goals. It was with some trepidation we made the return visit to Sociedad but the fears were unfounded as United came away with a 2-0 win. Once again, it was the Basques who had the majority of possession and chances created but it was United who took their chances for a moral boosting win.

The most recent game saw us away at Bayer Leverkusen. The Germans had looked a very well organised team in the leg at Salford and were very quick on the break, although United did get through their defence on a good few occasions.

United lined up with Joel Pereira in goal, a back four of Janko, Grimshaw, McNair and Rowley. A midfield of Byrne, Rothwell, Pearson and Weir, Andreas Pereira (no relation to the goalkeeper) playing behind lone striker James Wilson.

Saidy Janko was quick to catch the eye as he held off a couple of strong challenges to win and then clear the ball. Janko was signed on transfer deadline day from FC Zurich after he had impressed United scouts and coaches during last season Blue Stars Tournament. He was born in Switzerland and has a Gambian father and a Swiss/ Italian mother. His first couple of months were held up at United and, due to red tape, he couldn’t play until November. He is a strong looking lad who looks like he can play anywhere on the right side of the pitch but he was played at full back for this game. Leverkusen soon took a grip of the game and were keeping good possession of the ball whilst United too often looked for a long ball to Wilson which rarely reached its target. Just past the quarter hour mark, that possession led to the opening goal from Marc Brasnic who’s shot from outside the area beat Pereira in net at his right hand post.

United continued to look lethargic and 10 minutes after the first goal things got much worse for United as centre back and captain, Liam Grimshaw was sent off for a foul when he was the last man. The Leverkusen player took the ball in his stride and as he ran across the path of Grimshaw, he clipped his heels and off he went.

One of the big differences these boys will have noticed is the way the games are refereed. In this country, refs, in the main, don’t like flashing cards about, instead relying on talking to players and making it plain to them just what the ref expects. On the continent its completely different as the refs mirror their senior officials and are happy to book players for every challenge. This season has seen players sent off in this competition for challenges that wouldn’t merit a yellow card at home. You can argue that players have to learn from the off about foreign refs and what to expect and that British officials are not preparing them for when they step up. Whatever the argument, I know I prefer the British way where some of the best refereeing performances are seen at Youth level where common sense can prevail.

The free kick for the Grimshaw foul was from just outside the box and was whipped over the wall and onto the crossbar. Sadly for United, it was Leverkusen who were more alert as Barendt followed the ball in and headed the rebound into the net. 2-0 down and down to 10 men, United had a mountain to climb now.

The only half chance United created in the first half was a lovely turn and shot from James Wilson that flashed wide. Wilson is a rare breed at United, a home grown striker that should make the grade. He is a wonderful talent with bagfuls of skill and speed to match. Although mainly left footed, he scores goals with either foot and isnt bad in the air either. The way he rounds a keeper when in a one on one with them is a joy to behold and I truly think he is the best young striker I have seen at United in decades.

At the break, it remained 2-0 and United looked like they had no chance of making a recovery. That thought lasted a full 6 seconds of the second half as United were awarded a penalty and Leverkusen had their keeper sent off! A lightning quick break from the kick off led to a ball being played in for Wilson who beat the keeper to the ball and was brought down for the penalty. The red card was harsh as Wilson was heading away from goal when brought down but that illustrates my earlier point about overseas refs.

Wilson took the penalty and beat the keeper with ease to put United right back in the game. This turned the game on its head as United started to knock the ball about with confidence and created clear chance after chance

Just before the hour mark Callum Evans (no relation to Johnny) and Josh Harrop came on to replace Rowley and Byrne, Harrops arrival having a very good effect on the game as he began to grow into his role. United really should have been level when a close range Wilson header hit the Leverkusen keeper in the face and from the rebound he repeated his trick this time keeping a McNair shot out with his face again.

Ben Pearson was by now running the midfield show. This small stocky lad reminds me of Nicky Butt in many ways although he does have work to do if he is to be thought of as a possible future first teamer.

United had the Germans pinned well back into their half and the feeling was that it was just a matter of time until the equaliser went in and would it leave enough time for United to go hunting for a winner

U-18 top scorer Ash Fletcher came on for the last 10 minutes, replacing Andreas Pereira in an effort to get that all important goal and with 2 minutes of normal time to go he almost did just that but his header from a free kick went agonisingly wide.

That was Uniteds last chance as 3 minutes into injury time, Leverkusen broke out of defence and in seconds the ball was in the United net to put the game beyond doubt. There was still time for James Weir to get sent off for a second yellow card.

3-1 to Leverkusen it finished and means that United must beat Donetsk at Salford to progress to the next round, anything less and we are out.

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  1. xyz says:

    Good update thanks – always good to get news on the youth and reserve teams – they are our future afterall. Fingers crossed the boys do the job next week.

  2. xyz says:

    Now, a little off-topic but it is match day afterall. Team selection for tonight? Don’t think he will/should risk RVP unless 100% fit – keep him on the bench in case we need him. Jones suspended so opportunity for someone in midfield maybe? Is Raphael 100% fit? Let’s hope so but he’s been out a while now so probably best not to rush him back. And finally, can Fellaini start or is this wrist injury a lot more serious than we’ve been led to believe? If so he’s another good impact sub if needed. So, I think Moyes will pick something like this:

    De Gea
    Smalling Evans Vidic Evra
    Tony Cleverly Giggs Welbeck

    He could go for Fellaini in the middle from the start if he is fit enough to play full match – depends on his wrist. And I think if his wrist is that bad he needs the op as soon as Carrick is back as it’s no good for him or United to have him playing not fully fit. Should be a good game, but only 3 points will do.

  3. kevk24 says:

    Nice update. More of this please.

    The papers are saying Van Persie might play tonight

  4. Tommy says:

    Got to beat Donetsk next Monday, We should of got a draw last week, we had many chances in the 2nd half, but in a way its irrelevant because even a draw would of meant that we had to win last game anyway, So come on you young reds!

  5. xyz says:

    @Tommy – You have a great knowledge of the reserves/youth set-up. How do you watch things like the away youth games? Are they televised?

  6. Tommy says:


    All under 21 games are shown on mutv, usually on a weeday evening time 7pm ko, some under 18 games are shown live on mutv but they are shown on a saturday morning at either 11am or 12noon but not all under 18s are shown and all under 19s in the champions league have been getting shown on mutv, They play donetsk on Monday at 7pm kick off, If you dont have mutv then is a good site to watch live football and you will find that they usually show all Uniteds youtth matches, hope that helps mate

  7. wayne barker says:

    the whole reserve system seems a bit of a mess often thought a better system would be similar to the MLB and NHL were the bigger club have an affiliate smaller club,the quality of the Baseball and Hockey is a very high quality and any player proving his worth or because of injuries get’s called up into the first team,players can move both ways.To me that would kill two birds with one stone give the smaller clubs financial assistance they need and give the younger lads coming through the competitive football they need playing in front of decent crowds.I look at the Scottish league which is a shambles nearly every team needs help a influx of money and quality players would help immensely and the Scottish fans have always been passionate. I’m a advocate of both Celtic and Rangers being allowed into English Football their both big clubs with great fan support that would make the premiership a lot more exciting.Not saying should be an automatic start them off in the championship or div 2.Then form a Scottish league were premiership clubs give financial backing and players,it would be a much healthier system than it is now.

  8. Tommy says:


    I like the spanish system where Real Madrid and Barca have a B team playing in the lower divisions, they are not allowed to be promoted to the top tier but Barca and Madrid cant recall them to the first team for the whole season once they are in the squad. They play infront of better crowds and more competitive football, I do like the youth champions league thats started this year, playing against different teams, best idea EUFA come up with in years!

  9. wayne barker says:

    Tommy i like that as well but overall the English reserve system needs work.Think they’d be a lot of resistance to prem clubs being allowed to enter their reserves into the league system denying the smaller clubs of their chances etc.It can work in leagues like Spain when there’s only 2 clubs with the squad depth to do it but in the prem were would you draw the line at how many clubs would be allowed to do it.

  10. Tommy says:


    The thing is your playing against kids in the reserves now called the under 21s, It used to be full of experienced pros coming back from injury but now its just kids football and when your 20/21 you really need to be playing against men, players learn more in a couple of months out on loan than they would in a whole year in the under 21s. Foerign teams always seem more advanced than we are in England so this champions league format for the youths is great, young players only learn when thney play against better players

  11. wayne barker says:

    Tommy that’s what i’m saying instead of the loan system clubs have an affiliate club they supply players to,that way the smaller clubs get decent players while the main club continues to pay the wages.Talksport touched on this last week and i’ve thought about it for a long time,club like Everton who are a top six club get’s quality players from City and the Rent Boys yet they can’t play against those teams but can against all their rivals,something wrong with that.I don’t think any premiership club should be allowed to get loan players,if the club isn’t self sustaining shouldn’t be in the prem.

  12. Tommy says:


    Their used to be a rule a few years back you couldnt loan a player in the same division as the one youre in, I dont think prem clubs should be able to loan players from other prem sides, its a conflict of interests like Lukaku could help chelsea win the league whil;st playing for Everton

  13. wayne barker says:

    Exactly mate most would argue Lukaku is Chelsea’s best striker and should Everton be considered a top six club if the club doesn’t have the money to sign players it’s a pretty fucked up system.So each prem team has an affiliate team that would change if and when the smaller team got promoted into the prem.Could also make sure the smaller team kept it’s own identity by limiting the amount of players the big club could send.Don’t know how many players Utd have on loan read Rent Boys have something like 25,so the bigger clubs could support multiple smaller clubs with players.This would help the smaller clubs survive and prosper.If any of the smaller clubs wanted to stay independent up to them.i’d rather see five or six Utd lads playing together on one team than being all over the place and to be honest if that happened i’d start watching the lower league football.

  14. xyz says:

    @Tommy – cheers for that. Will try to make time to watch a bit more of the youth games.

    Agree with you and Wayne that loans to same division shouldn’t be allowed. Huge conflict of interest there. Surely if they developed the reserves league more it would be a win-win situation – higher standard of players so no need to loan out players. Better standard of football so better followed, more money in it. Good way to mix fringe players, senior players recovering from injuries and promising youth players all at the same time. I guess not all premiership teams would have the squads to compete but surely at least half of them would…..

  15. Tommy says:


    Thats the thing mate unless a player is really short of fitness you rarely see 1st team players in reserves/under 21 football, Even Buttner, rarely plays a 1st team game but never lines up at under 21 level, People on here were wondering why Zaha wouldnt get picked after scoring a good goal for the under 21s the other night, the reason is simple the standard of footballs a million miles away from 1st team quality

  16. wayne barker says:

    No disrespect to Zaha but what i’ve seen of him just isn’t ready for the first team.It just seems to me another thing for the Moyes knockers to go after, first it was why isn’t Nani or Kagawa getting picked,now it’s Zaha’s turn.Lately even been seeing complaint’s on why Ando isn’t getting picked whatever the Moyes haters/trolls can sink their teeth into whether it makes sense or not.

  17. Tommy says:


    Hes way off been ready for a first team spot, I see him quite regular for the under 21s and he blows hot and cold at that level, most of the time choosing the wrong option, cant afford to have him in the first team at the moment if we were flying at the top maybe he would take a risk for one game but not the position we are in at the moment!

  18. wayne barker says:

    Tommy i agree mate although there’s been unprecedented bitching and complaining about how bad Utd are the reality is Utd are 3pts out of 3rd.I said it Sunday if Le Arse don’t falter it’s their league if they do anyone’s league.The next month is going to sort things out so the last thing Utd need to be doing is bedding in rookies.

  19. Asen says:

    The game against Donetsk is not in Salford, but in Leigh. 7pm , next monday, Leigh Sports Village !

  20. xyz says:

    Agreed – Moyes has enough on his plate trying to fit in Kags, Nani, he’s blooding Januzaj and has to try to integrate Fellaini. Plenty of time for Zaha – would be surprised if he doesn’t loan him in Jan though as he’s had 5/6 months at United to get a feel for it, now he should be out playing football at a higher level than under 21s/reserves for the rest of the season. Hopefully a star of the future.

  21. Fletch™ says:

    Really top summary of the U19 situation.

    Still view the competition as something we need to organize around.
    Many Youngsters will view success in this competition as a crowning achievement and seal a love of the club that takes them through it.

    As to feeds.
    MUTV when I am in Europe or parts of asia.
    VIP for most other areas:

    Warning about VIP
    There are an insane number of pop ups that need to be gone through to close them.
    I usually open a number of the low quality feeds and pick the ones with the best announcers if watching a senior game. Usually only one or two feeds if it is the U21s or U19s. Often has MOTD and SkySports as well.

    Patience Usually pays off with VIP. But many of my mates get frustrated and pop off elsewhere.


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