Manchester United announce Academy coaching changes for 2023/24

Travis Binnion (left) will become U21s Lead; Tom Huddlestone (right) will continue as a player/ coach for the side

Travis Binnion (left) will become U21s Lead; Tom Huddlestone (right) will continue as a player/ coach for the side

MANCHESTER UNITED have announced their coaching structure for the Professional Development Phase (PDP) and top of the Youth Development Phase (YDP) for the forthcoming season.

In announcing the changes, the club said: “A number of staff have taken on new roles and duties... this is commonplace across the Academy to ensure that each group of players is offered complete support and staff have the opportunity to be challenged and develop professionally.”

The coaches will be as follows:

  • U21s Lead: Travis Binnion. Will also continue “to oversee the development of all players aged 18 and above in his capacity of Head of Player Development and Coaching."
  • U18s Lead: Adam Lawrence. Last season's U16s Lead. Will continue in his role as Head of Player Development and Coaching for the U13s to U16s, “to ensure a smooth transition for players as they begin their scholarships.”
  • U16s Lead: Martin Drury. Joined at the start of last season as U15s Lead, having previously been Head of Coaching at Bradford City. The U15s "will continue to work closely with the U18s on a day-to-day basis... as the Academy continues to be dedicated to accelerated learning.”
  • U15s Lead: Paul McShane. Was U21s Assistant last season and also worked with the U18s. “Wiill remain heavily involved with the PDP groups, passing on his expert knowledge, gained by playing in more than 400 club games and 33 international fixtures, to United’s young defenders.”
  • Senior Academy Coach: Mark Dempsey. Led the U21s last season. Will continue “mentoring staff and supporting players across the age groups", as well as working closely with players out on loan and taking "an active role in player recruitment." Will also "play a pivotal role in designing the Academy’s world-class learning environment.”
  • PDP Coaches: David Hughes and Colin Little. Hughes joined last summer from Cardiff City, where he was Academy Manager, to work across the PDP groups. Little has worked for United's Academy for more than 14 years. The duo “will work flexibly across the Professional Development Phase to provide expert knowledge and support to United’s young players.”
  • Lead Academy Goalkeeper Coach: Tommy Lee. Will primarily work with the U21s, while Kevin Wolfe will work with the U18 keepers.
  • U21s over-aged player/ coach: Tom Huddlestone. Will continue to work primarily with the U21s and “create various unique development opportunities by coaching from within training sessions and driving daily standards on and off the pitch.”

Director of Academy Nick Cox will work with Technical Director Darren Fletcher to “continue the seamless link between the Academy and first team,” United said.

Cox added: “We are really pleased to, once again, assemble a fantastic group of coaches with an excellent set of complementary skills that will best support our Professional Development Phase group.

“Travis and Adam are outstanding coaches who will lead individualised development programmes for both the U21s and U18s throughout their bespoke games programmes. We have designed a world-class learning environment for our staff and take great pride in supporting and witnessing their progression.

“We always planned for Mark to be lead coach for one year, rotation is important for players and staff development. Mark did a fantastic job with the Under-21s and was pivotal to the Academy’s successful season, supporting Kobbie [Mainoo] and Charlie [McNeill] in making their first-team debuts.

“Mark’s outstanding leadership of our Academy coaching programme, coupled with his knowledge of the club and infectious personality mean that he will continue to be vital to everything that we set out to achieve.

“We continue to build on the success of last season, striving to maximise each player's potential, provide life-enriching experiences for all of our young people and support Erik ten Hag in building a winning first-team.”

United added: “The Academy will take a bespoke approach to player development, focusing on supporting individuals to reach their potential by working with specialist coaches at optimal times.

“Players will each take part in individualised and varied games programmes. They will have the opportunity to play in a variety of fixtures and competitions including: U17s games, U18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League, Premier League 2, EFL Trophy, first-team fixtures with a loan club or United first-team fixtures.”

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