City 1-1 United (Willock, Diaz)

United soaked up the pressure and the rain at the Etihad to earn a point thanks to Matty Willock’s superb solo goal

The young bench showed the sign of the times for Joyce’s side after suffering an exodus of 21 year olds on deadline day. There was a number of under-18 players making up the numbers. On a positive note Ro-Shaun Williams was warming up beforehand despite not being listed on the teamsheet.

City looked a very technical side and played it safe keeping the ball with a lot of 6-yarders but never really penetrating. However after Poole’s error  City’s midfielder Kongolo went through on goal only to sky his shot terribly right in front of the away support.

Despite all this possession from City it was United who produced the sucker-punch as Matty Willock skipped past nearly the whole City defence and slotted home, it was the first shot United had all game, but at least it counted.

City found a bit of end product to their game in the second half as Brahim Diaz curled in the, albeit deserved, equaliser from the edge of the box.

Then the chance of the match, Willock who ran the midfield well played a reverse pass to Harrop who was in, but instead of shooting he cut back only for the keeper to smother him and the ball, a frustrating waste of a chance.

Max Dunne and DJ Buffonge both made their reserve debuts off the bench as City pressed for a winner only to be denied by Tuanzebe and a fine save from O’Hara right at the end. The points were divided as was the city of Manchester the next day.

Man of the Match: Showing strength and intelligence on the ball in midfield,Matty Willock always made the right choice throughout the game and capped off a great performance with his brilliant goal.

Line up: O’Hara, El Fitouri, Poole, Tuanzebe, Riley, Scott, McTominay, Redmond, Willock, Harrop, Mitchell

Subs: Sebtaoui, Dunne (McTominay), Doherty, Hamilton (Mitchell), Buffonge (Scott)

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United 1-0 Villarreal (Harrop)

United see out the stormy weather and the floodlight failure to win against the current holders of the Premier League International Cup.

The weather didn’t look ominous driving to Leigh as the thunder storm and torrential rain kept pouring down. But despite this, the match was all set to go, players had all shaken hands and assumed their positions.

As the referee drew the whistle to his mouth the floodlights switched off, you had to laugh really. There were doubts the game would go ahead, and in the end the players had three warm ups as the kick off finally came about an hour later than planned.

Villarreal were everything you expect to see from a Spanish side, comfortable and tidy on the ball with dangerous full backs and intricate one touch football. United were a bit take aback as Edgar Ie got in round the back drawing a save from Johnstone.

Minutes later Jose Carlos Lazo was played through on goal after an defence splitting through ball from midfield. Johnstone yet again saved well as United struggled to get the ball off the Yellow Submarines.

But when they did, it often came through the left-hand side as Joe Riley and Ethan Hamilton linked up very well causing the team to press forward. Josh Harrop went down in the box but was booked for simulation as the team started to press Villarreal a bit harder.

It was the impressive Scottish winger Hamilton who tackled well to win the ball back and catch Villarreal short at the back. He ran at the back four with intent and played Harrop through who finished well with a powerful shot into the near post to give United the lead.

Tuanzebe, who has been immense at the back all season, had another of his trademark tackle and surge forward runs. This time it ended with a thunderous shot which was saved, he was unlucky not to score from the rebound too as it came off Hamilton in an offside position.

Then came the chance of the match for the team in yellow as Mario Gonzales who had been a tricky customer all night turned in the box and thumped the ball past Johnstone, only for it to ping off the inside of the post and out for a goal kick.

In the end United kept their shape very well and deserved all three points over an impressive Villarreal side. It was interesting to see how the Spanish set up and play their youth football and the change of opposition seemed to benefit Joyce’s side too.

Man of the Match: The Edinburgh-born winger had only made his debut at under-23 level the other week and he had a very impressive game out on the left-wing. Ethan Hamilton showed some neat turns and direct running football, practically made the winning goal out of nothing after he tackled, ran and assisted perfectly for Harrop’s goal.

Line up: Johnstone, El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley, Scott, Redmond, Willock, McTominay, Harrop, Hamilton

Subs: Henderson, Olosunde (Redmond), O’Connor, Kehinde (Harrop), Doughty, Mitchell (Scott)

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Nicky Butt Interview

You may have seen Henry Winter’s interview with Nicky Butt in the Times last Thursday. The new head of academy was surprisingly open and frank in his assessments of how the youth setup is progressing at United.

There was some great lines from it, truthful ones too. Talking about the Premier League under-23 league; “It’s crap. If you’re not in the first-team by 20, you’re not going to make it at all.” Which was true, why raise the bar to under-23 it will only stagnate players who could move on to lesser clubs than United and develop their careers at a higher level.

Butt also noted Rashford as potential “£50 million pound player” and name-dropped Angel Gomes as one to watch. The redevelopment seems to be going well judging by the turnaround in the performances from the under-18s this season, who seem to average 5 goals per game.

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Internationals

Let’s start with the obvious one first, Marcus Rashford once again showing his humble and dedicated approach to the game, despite being demoted to the England under-21 squad.

Most players would throw a strop, assuming they had made it. But not Rashford as in the end it was Allardyce who looked fool as he bagged a hat-trick against Norway in his last ever appearance for the under-21 national side.

United also had three players one year below in the England set up at under-20 level. The side lost 2-1 to Brazil, Borthwick-Jackson was at fault for one of the goals following a sloppy backpass as he played 45 minutes. Axel Tuanzebe got 5 minutes and Dean Henderson was an un-used substitute.

Fosu-Mensah was in the Netherlands under-21 side as an un-used sub in their match against Belarus. Joel Pereira kept 2 clean sheets in his 2 games for Portugal under-21s. Regan Poole also made his international debut for Wales under-21s coming on as a substitute against Denmark and then starting the next game against Luxembourg.

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Next Match

United v Derby County | Old Trafford | 19th September | 7pm




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