Manchester United introduce 'work experience' for Academy players

Head of Academy Nick Cox and Head of Player Development and Coaching Justin Cochrane

Head of Academy Nick Cox and Head of Player Development and Coaching Justin Cochrane

MANCHESTER UNITED have launched an innovative ‘work experience’ scheme that will enable their Professional Development Phase players (Under-17s to U23s) to spend time with EFL clubs.

The Pro Experience Programme is distinct from the formal loan system and gives players training time with EFL clubs in short bursts.

The first two players have spent time with Sheffield Wednesday this week (from Sunday to Saturday) and more will go out to clubs in the November international break and others at Christmas.

Head of Academy Nick Cox said: “This programme represents an excellent development opportunity for our players. In the Academy, we are always looking to be innovative in order to provide the best experiences for all of our boys.

“The opportunity enables players to learn new behaviours and witness first-hand the standards of a first-team environment. We know that they will return to Carrington with a renewed sense of purpose that will benefit the individual and the wider training group.

“Justin Cochrane has been pivotal in establishing this initiative, it is thanks to a number of fantastic relationships that we have been able to establish a really exciting experience for the Professional Development Phase group.

“We want to thank Sheffield Wednesday for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing the numerous benefits that this programme will bring for our players both on and off the pitch.”

The work experience stints are intended to give players first-hand experience of the training “standards and situations” that come in the build-up to important matches.

They will “learn directly from experienced pros, observe preparations for upcoming games and travel with the matchday squad”, United said, enabling them to “learn just what it takes to perform each week in professional football.”

The programme will give players the platform to prove themselves ahead of potential loan moves in future. Upon their return to Carrington, the players will “present their experiences to coaches to cement the learning process,” United added.

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