AUTHOR: – Doron
It’s been a busy two weeks for the Reserves and the Academy since pre-season started. Three games have been played, two more players have left on loan and one permanently, players already out on loan have been performing for their new clubs, the Milk Cup squad has been announced, various league fixtures have been announced, a player has joined on trial and there has been a touch of off-field controversy too.
11/7/2011: Curzon Ashton 1-4 Manchester United Reserves (Leao 7, Drinkwater 31, W Keane 69 (pen), Morrison 90)
United eased to an opening victory in the busy pre-season schedule. Rafael Leao scuffed in Robbie Brady’s cross to open the scoring before Drinkwater cooly finished having picked up a poor, under-hit back-pass. Curzon Ashton were allowed back into the game just before half time when Liam Jacob spilled a cross allowing midfielder Sam Walker to easily score.
A changed United XI appeared for the second half and it took them nearly 25 minutes to again open up a two goal lead. William Keane was taken down in the area and he got up to convert the penalty. United cruised to the win with Ravel Morrison scoring a glorious solo goal at the death – he dribbled past two players before an accurate left footed shot found the far corner.
First half XI: Jacob, Massacci, McGinty, Fornasier, Giverin, Vermijl, Norwood, Drinkwater, Brady, Lingard, Leao
Second half XI: Coll, M Keane, Brown, Thorpe, Fryers, Cole, Pogba, Petrucci, Morrison, W Keane, Cofie
17/7/2011: Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Manchester United Reserves (Drinkwater 50)
United took a small squad of 15 to Shrewsbury which only included one goalkeeper – 40 year old Alan Fettis who is United’s Reserve and Academy goalkeeping coach. United were captained by Darron Gibson – left out of the first team tour squad and needing games after a move to Sunderland fell through. Shrewsbury went ahead through two headers, first from James Collins and then Sean McAllister scored at the second attempt.
Cofie and William Keane had chances to score but it was Danny Drinkwater on the scoresheet again on 50 minutes. Drinkwater was given too much space outside the area and his snap-shot bent into the corner and in off the post. United couldn’t find an equaliser and had Fettis to thank for not losing by a bigger margin.
United XI and subs: Fettis, M Keane, Fryers, Thorpe, McGinty, Drinkwater, Pogba, Gibson, Petrucci (Lingard 55), W Keane, Cofie (Cole 46). Subs not used: Massacci, Giverin
20/7/2011: Fleetwood Town 0-2 Manchester United Reserves (Pogba 58, Drinkwater 85)
We have a full match report from that game courtesy of Stretford-End.com’s Nik:
Joyce’s side travelled to Fleetwood to face the ‘Cod Army’ on Wednesday evening, and though he wont be endeared by the performance, he will be quietly happy that his side was given a very decent test, both physically and in football terms, by the Conference outfit. Both teams matched up with somewhat of a 4-5-1 formation, Joyce placing Petrucci wide left and Pogba wide right, with Norwood, Gibson (who captained the side) and Drinkwater across the middle – the latter predominantly the midfielder tasked with getting up to support William Keane at every opportunity. You wondered whether it was a deliberate ploy to station Pogba in a defensive right position, as the gaffer has continued to impress upon the youngster the importance of maintaining the correct position on the field.
United started the game in a bright manner, controlling the midfield, with both McGinty and Michael Keane taking it in turns to provide thrust down their respective flanks, often leaving three centre halves at the back effectively. Indeed it was Michael Keane’s ambition which created the first real opening of the game as he linked with Gibson on the right touchline, the Ulster-man providing a delicious back-heel return pass through the defender’s legs for the youngster to latch on to, who in turn played a dangerous cross into the penalty area. In truth, it was a rare moment of attacking intent from United (who were playing in the new blue and black striped away kit) as Fleetwood matched them for their energy, workrate and endeavour.
Chess-like in its momentum, the game gently lapsed into a pattern of United controlling possession at the back and in the middle, before finally relinquishing the ball to Fleetwood once in the final third. The home side’s strategy was to press as soon as United entered their half, and Briggs and McGuire in particular seemed on a mission to impress as they harried and hustled the midfield trio, whilst Fleetwood’s captain McNulty swallowed everything that came his way in the air. United’s lack of penetration in attack was largely due the opposition’s cohesive defensive unit but also Beeley’s superb attacking opportunism down their right hand side from fullback, forcing Petrucci back into defensive positions and causing Norwood to sit in very deep. Pogba too grew frustrated, and often sought to come inside in search of the ball, but Joyce was perpetually talking to the promising youngster, and just as in the game versus Curzon Ashton, coached him throughout the game – particularly with his movement, and his adoption of defensive positions without the ball.
It was no surprise to see Cofie and Cole both introduced at half-time, as Pogba duly came central, with Cole starting in a familiar wide right role and Drinkwater seemingly asked to play a lot closer to Cofie (W Keane was far too isolated in the opening half) in somewhat of a 4-4-1-1 formation. Gibson dropped back into the centre half position in place of (the out-muscled) Thorpe, and he used his intelligence on the ball despite struggling aerially. Pogba and Norwood sought to continually involve the wide players, but Cole didn’t open up the game as expected – and Petrucci was still struggling to make an impact from the left; it was only with Lingard’s introduction and the inevitable effect of fatigue from the home side’s intense application did United start to find space in between the lines. Lingard is particularly apt at coming inside on the ball, which allowed for the overlap but also for Cofie to receive the ball through the centre, with a couple of measured through balls attempted early on. Norwood continued to keep neat possession of the football, but both he and Drinkwater were becoming frustrated with the lack of space in the centre of the field – McGuire in particular was flying in with the challenges, and was lucky not to receive yellow for a reckless challenge on Drinkwater 10 minutes into the second half. Shortly after, the busy attacking midfielder linked well with Cofie down the left and found Pogba in a central left position just under 25 yards out; and taking a second to assess his options, decided to let fly with a peach of a curling right-footed attempt which dipped and swerved into the goal for 0-1 United.
It seemed unfair on the home side who had created the better openings, but United’s fitness was starting to pay dividends. Both keepers were forced into saves from close range before man of the match, Drinkwater, capitalised on some poor communication between substitute goalkeeper St Louise-Hamilton and his centre half and calmly slotted home United’s second with 5 minutes to play. Leao, Giverin and Macclesfield trialist, Lonsdale, were all given minutes towards the end of a performance, that whilst it lacked in finesse and a clear strategy, certainly didn’t lack in application from the youngsters as they came away with a useful win
United XI and subs: Johnstone, M Keane, Thorpe (Cole 46), McGinty (Giverin 87), Fryers, Pogba (Lonsdale 87), Drinkwater, Gibson, Petrucci (Lingard 65), Norwood (Leao 89), W Keane (Cofie 46). Sub not used: Jacob
Players leave the club but one comes in:
Robbie Brady has joined Hull on loan. He’ll link up with former team mates Chester, C Evans, Stewart and Dudgeon at the club. On the same day that Brady’s loan was completed, Oliver Gill decided to leave the club. He’d been offered a new contract but wanted to continue his education at university and will start at Durham in September. Gill had already deferred his place there by one year and was named the club’s Reserve Player of the Season for 2010/11.
Joshua King has now all but completed his loan move to Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany. King had to have an operation that put the move on hold but now with the surgery deemed a success, the German side have announced his capture, subject to a medical. Max Eberl, the team’s Director of Sport said, “Joshua is a fast all-rounded attacking player with plenty of potential. He will help us and provide more competition in the forward areas”. There is no option for the German club to buy him permanently included as part of the deal.
Max Lonsdale has joined the club on trial from Macclesfield. The 18 year old midfielder is said to have chased Sir Alex Ferguson down to ask for a chance to impress and he came on for the closing stages of the win at Fleetwood Town. He’s been named in the provisional squad that will travel to Scotland for friendlies on Sunday and Monday.
Players out on loan:
Bebe – scored in his opening pre-season game for Besiktas
De Laet – been getting a lot of playing time for Norwich and has been impressing at centre back
Brady – was Hull’s star man as they won 2-1 away at Winterton Rangers
Wootton and Tunnicliffe – played the second half of Peterborough’s 2-2 draw at Barnet. Both impressed with Wootton playing in an unfamiliar DM role at the bottom of a diamond. The pair played the full 90 minutes as Peterborough recorded a 3-2 win at Notts County. Wootton was back at centre back with Tunnicliffe in centre midfield. Once again both put in solid displays but Wootton picked up a knock that kept him out of the St. Neots trip – Tunnicliffe played though.
The Milk Cup squad:
United take part in the Premier Section of the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland next week. Games will be played against Zamora FC, Co.Tyrone and Hartlepool.
The squad is:
1.Joe Coll, 2.Luke Hendrie, 3.Tyler Blackett, 4.Charni Ekangamene, 5.Luke McCullough, 6.Jack Rudge, 7.Joe Rothwell, 8.Mats Daehli, 9.James Wilson, 10.Gyliano van Velzen, 11.Jack Barmby, 12.Ben Pearson, 13.Jonathan Sutherland, 14.Patrick McNair, 15. Matthew Wilkinson, 16.Kenji Gorre, 17.James Weir, 18.Tom Lawrence
The squad is littered with first year scholars but includes FAYC winners Tyler Blackett and Gyliano Van Velzen. Names worth keeping an eye on are Rothwell, Daehli, Wilson, Barmby (son of Nicky), McNair and Gorre (son of Dean). It’s great news that Luke McCullough has been named after his first season at the club was ruined by injuries – his inclusion suggests his latest surgery was a success.
Ravel Morrison missing from the squad:
Having impressed in the first pre-season friendly of the season, Morrison was left out of the Shrewsbury and Fleetwood games and has not been named in the provisional squad that will travel to Scotland. Police have confirmed he was brought in for questioning over a harassment complaint. Morrison denied having anything to do with it and he’s not been charged or arrested.
Reserve and Academy league fixtures announced:
The Reserve and Academy league fixtures have all been announced but are subject to change. The Reserve fixtures are:
Mon Aug 15 Arsenal (A) Barnet FC 7PM
Thu Aug 25 Swansea City (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Aug 30 West Brom (A) The Hawthorns 7PM
Thu Sep 15 Fulham (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Sep 27 Norwich City (A) Carrow Road 7PM
Thu Oct 20 Blackburn Rovers (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Thu Nov 3 Everton (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Nov 8 Newcastle (A) Northumberland FA 7PM
Thu Nov 17 Wigan Athletic (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Nov 22 Bolton (A) Lancashire FA 7PM
Tue Dec 6 Sunderland (A) Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground 7PM
Thu Dec 15 Liverpool (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Jan 10 Everton (A) Stobart Stadium 7PM
Mon Jan 16 Liverpool (A) Liverpool’s Academy 2PM
Thu Jan 26 Newcastle (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Thu Feb 16 Bolton (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Tue Feb 21 Wigan Athletic (A) Robin Park Arena 2PM
Thu Mar 1 Sunderland (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Mon Mar 12 Blackburn Rovers (A) Leigh Sports Village 7PM
Thu Mar 22 Aston Villa (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Mon Apr 2 Chelsea (A) Cobham Training Ground 2PM
Thu Apr 12 Wolves (H) Altrincham FC 7PM
Whilst the Academy’s fixtures are:
Sat Aug 20 Portsmouth H
Sat Aug 27 Southampton A
Sat Sep 3 Leeds United H
Sat Sep 10 Sheffield United A
Sat Sep 17 Middlesbrough H
Sat Sep 24 Blackburn Rovers A
Sat Oct 1 Manchester City H
Sat Oct 8 Wolves A
Sat Oct 15 Liverpool A
Sat Oct 29 Crewe Alexandra H
Sat Nov 5 Bolton Wanderers A
Sat Nov 12 Stoke City H
Sat Nov 19 West Bromwich Albion H
Sat Dec 3 Everton A
Sat Dec 10 Liverpool H
Sat Dec 17 Crewe Alexandra A
Sat Jan 7 Bolton Wanderers H
Sat Jan 14 Stoke City A
Sat Jan 21 West Bromwich Albion A
Sat Jan 28 Everton H
Sat Feb 11 Blackburn Rovers H
Sat Feb 18 Manchester City A
Sat Feb 25 Wolves H
Sat Mar 3 Barnsley A
Sat Mar 10 Sunderland H
Sat Mar 17 Sheffield Wednesday A
Sat Mar 31 Newcastle United H
Sat Apr 21 Huddersfield Town A
AUTHOR: – Doron