Neil Wood leaves Man Utd after eight years to join Salford City

Wood joined United's Academy coaching staff in 2014

Wood joined United's Academy coaching staff in 2014

MANCHESTER UNITED’S Under-23 coach Neil Wood has left the club after eight years to become manager of Salford City.

Stretford-born Wood is a former youth-team player and reserves captain at United, although he never made a senior appearance for the club.

After a playing career that took in spells at Blackpool, Oldham and Zeljeznicar Sarajevo, he went on to coach at Aston Villa before returning to United in September 2014.

He began working with the Under-13s before progressing to lead the U18s and then, from July 2019, the U23s. Since he took on that role, 17 Academy players have made their first-team debuts.

Now the 39-year-old will make his first foray into senior management, replacing Gary Bowyer, who was sacked this week after 14 months in charge of League Two Salford.

During his time at United Wood worked closely with Salford co-owner Nicky Butt, who was the club’s Academy Manager and Head of Development. United are now looking for an entirely new U23s coaching team after Wood’s assistant, Neil Ryan, left last week to join the Football Association.

Head of Academy Nick Cox said: “We are delighted for Neil to be able to fulfil his ambition of coaching within a first-team environment. This is an excellent move in his career and one that we were really happy to support.

“Neil has led our U23s team fantastically over the past three years and played a key role in the progression of all our recent first team debutants. Clearly, this appointment is yet another reflection of the excellent coaching abilities and coach development opportunities within the Academy.

"We have created an environment in which the staff can progress just as much as our players. The whole of the Academy thanks Neil for his service throughout his time at the club and wishes him the very best of luck at Salford City.”

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