The U21s have only played 3 matches since the last update, while the U18s have continued to progress in the FA Youth Cup. Unfortunately, the U21s problems from the first half of the season have continued in their 3 matches since the World Cup began. From a lack of consistency to a complete ineptitude in front of goal. Meanwhile the United coaching staff continue to label as ‘learning’ and the side ‘showing signs of improvement’. There seems to be an incompetence from the youth staff that honestly should scare United fans.
The U21s beat Wolves on penalties in the Papa Johns Trophy on November 22nd before losing to Bolton in the very next round 4-0. Although, it should be said this was Bolton’s first team. The squad then went on to lose to PSV 2-0 in the PL international cup.
Meanwhile, the U18s are fairing a lot better than the U21s. The U18s are in the 4th round of the FA Youth Cup after beating Crystal Palace 3-1. They will face Stoke City next.
Coaching Issues Persist
Since the days of the ‘Busby Babes’ United’s Academy has been touted as one of, if not the, best in the land. Young talent has been a staple of Manchester United for as long as one can remember, but the quality of the academy is starting to dip and it can only be blamed on the coaching staff. Mark Dempsey and Travis Binnion are either both ignorant idiots or they’re attempting to save their jobs through illusion.
So many times this season the same words about learning and experience have been uttered by these two as a way to excuse their sides terrible performances. How many opportunities do these coaches and players need to realize their biggest issues? It’s all clear for fans and pundits alike to see. Much like the first team, the youth squads lack a proper 9 or at least one that can actually score. It’s no wonder Manchester City let Charlie McNeil walk, the lad is terrific at getting himself into position but he couldn’t score if his life depended on it. Meanwhile Hugo (primarily plays for the U18s) just had one of the worst missed chances I’ve ever seen in United’s match versus PSV.
It’s time for Eric ten Hag to make changes at the youth level.
Premier League International Cup Update
United now sit on only 1 point after 3 matches played in the PL International Cup group stage. They lost 2-0 to PSV in their final match of 2022. PSV were all over United early, but it was United with the best chance of the second half. After a low cross found Hugo in front of an empty net but he shanked it wide. PSV would go on to score early in the second half and then finish it off at 2-0 with a brilliant counter attack. United had their fair share of chances to be fair, but their biggest issue of the season persisted.
The U21s squad cannot finish their chances and the coaching staff seem to be doing nothing about it. After the defeat Mark Dempsey offered the same old rhetoric, “On chances created and balance of play we were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of the result.” Nobody cares Mark, learn how to win some fucking games. These youth sides are not establishing a winning culture and that’s scary for the Academies future.
The only loanee to make note off over the last month is Amad Diallo. The young Ivory Coast international has scored 6 goals in 11 matches for Sunderland. The championship side also sit within striking distance of the Championship playoffs. United have a ‘recall’ option in Diallo’s loan contract with Sunderland but Eric ten Hag is reluctant to use it.
Eric ten Hag has said, “We consider everything but I have a little bit of reservation about (brining Diallo back), because I don’t want to stop the process. He has made really good progress there so I’m happy with that.”
United need a striker with the departure of Ronaldo and continued lackluster performances form Anthony Martial but this is probably a wise call form ETH. Should Diallo come back, he would surely play less than he would if he stayed with Sunderland, only stalling his progress. As ETH went on to say, Diallo needs minutes and he needs to build experience in competitive first team football. Let’s hope Diallo continues his fine form to finish the season.
The U21s will play PL division 2 leaders Fulham on January 6th and Craven Cottage.