Man Utd change focus of Development Centres

Michael Carrick with Manchester United Foundation Phase players

Michael Carrick with Manchester United Foundation Phase players

MANCHESTER UNITED are closing down seven of their Development Centres and changing the focus of the remaining 17.

The centres, based in the North West, cater for players aged from five to eight years old and are the first step on the Academy pathway.

United want to streamline them, with less centres and less players going through them. Now children will spend a maximum of six weeks at a Centre before those deemed most talented are selected for an Elite Regional Centre.

Kids can be signed up by an Academy on the Easter after their eighth birthday, with United's Foundation Phase players based at The Cliff.

The question is whether six weeks is long enough for a youngster to really prove himself.

There is also likely to be a name change for the Development Centres, with them being titled Talent Centres instead. This is important, signifying that they will be focused on identifying players at this stage rather than developing them.

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