Classy Man Utd hold camp for ex-academy stars including Rashford’s best pal as fans say ‘how things should be done’

8 months ago 58

MANCHESTER UNITED have launched a classy initiative that will see former academy players given extra support.

The scheme saw seven ex-players return to the club’s Carrington training base to hand them additional support as they recover from injury or new pathways.

Man Utd have held a training initiative for former Academy Alumni[/caption]
Nick Cox, left, revealed the scheme would be the first of many to come[/caption]

Man Utd Academy Director Nick Cox confirmed this would be the first of many events the club would be putting on to bolster its Alumni Programme.

In a LinkedIn post, he said: “On Tuesday I had the pleasure of spending time with seven of our former Academy players who visited Carrington to be part of an Alumni Training Camp devised to help support them to secure a playing contract at their next club.

“The group, who each left us at different stages in recent years, have been with us all week with the main focus being on coaching and physical preparation.

“In addition to this the players engaged in a series of workshops to stimulate them into considering the opportunities that might be available to them away from playing.

“This is the first of many scheduled events that will make up our Alumni Programme. We have always been fantastic at engaging with former players and keeping in contact to offer support and guidance.

“The Academy has decided to formalise this approach with the launch of a formal alumni programme in the new year (working title United Once, United Forever).”

Cox revealed the programme will see them reach out to 227 players who have left the club since 2012, but would not turn away players from before then either.

He also confirmed the programme will offer social events, educational workshops and guidance for former players.


The first edition of this scheme included Marcus Rashford’s best friend Ro-Shaun Williams, who left Man Utd in 2019 before finding himself unregistered after spells with Shrewsbury and Doncaster.

Other stars were Callum Gribbin, Oli Kilner, Eric Hanbury, Tom Thorpe, Matt Olosunde and Joe Thompson.

Cox added: “I believe that young people that engage with Academies are amongst the most purposeful, creative, resilient, determined and talented around.

“Whilst at the club they will have developed many more skills that will have helped them to be successful in adult life.

“So, the most exciting part of the project is that we will be creating a network of young people that can support each other, offer advice to our current players and provide us with valuable feedback on their experiences to help us as we shape our programme for future years.”

Fans lavished praise on the club for the scheme, with one saying: “That’s how things should be done. Provide pathways for young people to succeed no matter the situation.”

A second said: “This is a great move. Academy players dedicate their whole upbringing to breaking through meaning most have nothing in terms or relevancy to the normal world if they fall through the cracks.”

Another said: “This is proper. We criticise the club often for their many foibles, but it is fair to give them a shout when they do the right thing. Helping the academy kids stay on their feet is a massive obligation.”

Thorpe, who captained Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard to the FA Youth Cup, suffered an ACL injury last week and explained he could not look for another club until he returned to fitness.

He told ITV News about the initiative: “Being at United growing up through the Academy, it’s all about progression and learning.

“Whereas you step out into the actual football world it’s about winning. And it’s about people playing for mortgages, they’ve got families so it becomes a lot more real.”

Williams added: “I still think I’m going to be a player but it’s always good to add more value to yourself as a person.”

Tom Thorpe, left, was one star who was involved in the camp[/caption]
Marcus Rashford’s fellow academy stars Ro-Shaun Williams, top third from right, and Callum Gribbin, bottom second from left, also attended[/caption]

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