Trio to play for both Man Utd U21s & Altrincham in 'unique' programme

Maxi Oyedele (left) and Sonny Aljofree (right). Photo courtesy of Manchester United. 

Maxi Oyedele (left) and Sonny Aljofree (right). Photo courtesy of Manchester United. 

A TRIO of Manchester United Academy players will turn out for both their Under-21s and non-league Altrincham for the rest of the season as part of a “unique learning opportunity”.

In October 2021, United launched their ‘Pro Experience Programme’, which sees Professional Development Phase players spend extended periods of time training with EFL clubs to gain 'work experience'.

The latest scheme is an extension of that and means Sonny Aljofree, Joe Hugill and Maxi Oyedele will all actually play for National League Altrincham, as well as continuing to train and play for United’s U18s and U21s.

United's coaches will be able to make decisions about the schedules of the trio of a week-by-week basis.

Academy rules, as laid down by the Premier League, permit this kind of “bespoke and flexible programme“ (in the words of United) in partnership with non-league teams. Loans of Premier League players still have to be signed off during a transfer window (these deals formally went through yesterday) and then run to the following transfer window.

United's Head of Academy, Nick Cox, said: “We are always looking for unique and innovative development opportunities. Being able to create a flexible and bespoke programme for our players is vital as we look to tailor each of their experiences to maximise the development process.

“The scheme caps off an excellent loan window for the Academy where we placed every player at an optimum club to enable them to return to United with more experience and ready for the next step in their careers.”

Travis Binnion, Head of Player Development and Coaching, added: “We are really pleased to launch this scheme and enable three players to gain excellent experience of non-league football.

“Each of them will hugely benefit from this unique learning opportunity, playing senior football in a competitive environment whenever we agree that the time is right for both clubs. We want to thank Altrincham for their support and look forward to the numerous benefits that this scheme will provide to everyone involved.”

Poland U19 international Oyedele has already played for Altrincham in the National League against Chesterfield, as well as impressing in this season’s FA Youth Cup.

Aljofree was part of United’s U18 team that won the Youth Cup last season, while Hugill has been in impressive goalscoring form for United’s U21s since returning from injury.

United have developed a number of “mutually beneficial excellent relationships” with local clubs Altrincham, Stockport County and Salford City. All have made use of United’s facilities this season and either taken players on loan or for training.

United added that: “The various initiatives showcase the Academy’s dedicated support of the local football ecosystem, bringing the North West football community together to increase expertise and develop the wider game.”

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