Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Young Reds hard at work in Scotland

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Justin Cochrane.

Not only is the Manchester United senior squad away on a summer camp but the Academy group is in Scotland enjoying similarly top-class preparation for the 2021/22 season.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men headed south, the younger age groups travelled north of the border to an excellent sports complex in Edinburgh.

The knock-on effect of so many youngsters being in the first-team squad means there is a more youthful feel to both Under-23s and Under-18s training sessions. The second-year scholars have been promoted to the older group, so the remainder is essentially an Under-17s selection, featuring a number of schoolboys. 

Preparations are going well and the change of environment has clearly been appreciated.

“This is a fantastic facility,” Head of Academy Nick Cox told us at the complex. “Humble, nice and there’s kind of everything we need here but it’s a grounded environment for the boys to spend some time in.

“More importantly, it’s the first time we’ve been away from Carrington in 18 months so it’s more of a change of scenery which is welcomed by staff and players alike.

“I think, when we bring the boys away, we’ve obviously got work to do to try to prepare them for the season ahead and start to lay down the foundations and share messaging. But it’s also about trying to replicate what they might experience if they break into the first-team squad – an intense period away from home, living in close proximity for a few days. It’s exactly what they need to be ready if they get into the first-team squad.

“Normal life is changing and, within football, there are still rigid protocols so we’re trying to keep people safe by adhering to them. So it’s not quite back to normal but certain elements, such as this trip, feel a bit more normal.”

Some of the Under-23s pose for the camera after a short-sided game.

Both groups get to take part in friendly matches at the end of a week of intense double sessions and important team bonding.

Things ramp up again next week, with the Under-23s taking on Stalybridge Celtic in a friendly on Tuesday night, live on MUTV, while an Under-16s squad will be in Northern Ireland for a series of friendlies, as we await details of the league fixtures for the 2021/22 campaign.

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