Wood in line for Man Utd U23 job after Sbragia departure
Written by Craig Best — May 22, 2019
MANCHESTER UNITED Academy coach Neil Wood is in the running for the vacant Under-23 job at the club following the departure of Ricky Sbragia after less than two years.
Sbragia, 62, left at the end of the season by mutual consent. Contrary to reports, the experienced Scot did not depart because of results - United had finished sixth in the second tier of Premier League 2 - but because he was no longer regarded as the best man to deliver the development programme the club wanted.
An insider told TGG: “Ricky was never set the requirement of having to be promoted this season. Results are a by-product of a really good development programme."
Former reserve team boss Warren Joyce has been heavily linked with a return to the club - and will be considered - but an internal candidate is one of the early front-runners.
Wood has assisted Sbragia with the U23s this season and, as anyone who has watched the side will testify, he has been a prominent figure on the sidelines during matches.
Having come through the ranks at United as a youth player, he subsequently played for Blackpool, Oldham and Zeljeznicar Sarajevo. After retiring from playing, he embarked on a career as a coach and worked for Aston Villa before returning to United in September 2014.
Because of his background at the club as both a player and coach, he is regarded as having an intrinsic understanding the club’s DNA while also young and progressive.
Sbragia had returned to United in July 2017, having previously been reserve team manager under Sir Alex Ferguson from 2002 to 2005.