Man Utd take on Chelsea in 'elite playground'

MANCHESTER UNITED and Chelsea’s younger age groups have faced each other in an ‘elite playground’ format at St George’s Park.

Nick Cox, who became academy operations manager at United last May, described the match as effectively being a ‘North v South’ of the best players of their age in the country.

"We put a project in place due to our good relationship with Chelsea,” Cox told Manchester United’s official website.

Nick Cox: Joined Man Utd last May“We have similar thoughts on how to develop players and, this year, decided to meet them at St George's Park where three of the younger age groups played all day across every format of the game.

“It was the best players, we perceive, in the north and south of the country in a pressurised situation. It was difficult but almost creating an elite playground.

“It was playground type of football against the best players out there and it was an absolutely fantastic experience and is not something that is done anywhere else."

Cox, who was previously academy manager at Sheffield United and Watford, added: "The variety of opposition is important as well and we've invited Tottenham and Chelsea as, because of the geography, we don't play them on a regular basis.”

Meanwhile, United midfielder Michael Carrick said he had been working with the Academy as he works towards his Uefa A licence.

"I enjoy it when I can," Carrick said. "I had a bit of a chat and a Q&A with the boys a few weeks ago, a lot of the Academy lads, and it’s something I enjoy.

"It’s just trying to pass something on, some experience that I’ve had over the years, what I was like in their situation and things like that. Obviously, I’m using it to go for my badges as well and go for my A-Licence, so it’s worked quite well."

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