Huddlestone, 35, joins Manchester United Under-21s as player-coach

Huddlestone with United's Head of Player Development and Coaching Travis Binnion

Huddlestone with United's Head of Player Development and Coaching Travis Binnion

FORMER England midfielder Tom Huddlestone has joined Manchester United as an over-aged player-coach with their Under-21 side.

The 35-year-old retired at the end of last season after a career that included more than 550 professional appearances, with 242 of them coming in the Premier League.

He also won four caps for his country. United had brought in Paul McShane as their first over-aged player-coach in June last year, but he retired from playing at the end of last season and will now focus solely on coaching, as the assistant to U21s Lead Mark Dempsey.

As TGG exclusively revealed last week, David Hughes has also been brought in to coach the Professional Development Phase, having previously been Academy Manager at Cardiff City.

United were left with berths to fill when U23s boss Neil Wood and his assistant Neil Ryan left at the end of last season.

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Academy Director Nick Cox said: “The innovative approach that we took in appointing a playing coach last season was a real success and brought a range of benefits to the whole Academy.

“Tom is a superb candidate to take on this important role. Having played at the highest level during his outstanding career and already displayed excellent capabilities as a coach, his presence will benefit our players immeasurably.

Huddlestone will have to undergo a medical before being cleared to play. Premier League 2 has been changed from a U23 to a U21 competition from this season, with teams permitted to field five over-aged outfield players and one in goal.

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