United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

News roundup – Winning start for Zieler; Trio turn pro; Burnley keen on Eagles; Mixed fortune for four seeking new clubs

Posted by nickogs20 on July 15, 2008

Few snippets of news from the past few days that you may (or indeed may not) have missed…

~ United’s sole representative at the U19 Euros got off to a winning start in Plzen this evening as Ron-Robert Zieler’s Germany side overcame the holders and favourites Spain 2-1 in their opening group match. Zieler was preferred to Energie Cottbus’ Tom Mickel in goal and had little to do as Spain laboured in attack. In contrast, the young Germans built a deserved 2-0 lead with goals early in each half from Richard Sukuta-Pasu and Ömer Toprak, and had enough in the tank to comfortably hold on even after Zieler was beaten by a Jordi Alba strike midway through the second period.

Germany’s shock win will have raised hopes of success in a tournament they have never won, and their next game is on Thursday evening against Bulgaria. News on that (and more specifically RRZ’s involvement) in due course.

~ Manutd.com revealed on Friday that Daniel Drinkwater, Antonio Bryan and Danny Welbeck had signed professional contracts with the club. 18 year-old’s Drinkwater and Bryan were both expected to be offered pro terms after making excellent progress in the second year of their scholarships, while Welbeck’s exceptional talent and rapid progress through the ranks to the fringes of the first team see him sign a professional contract after just one year as a scholar.

No official news yet on whether the remaining second year scholars from last year (Ben Amos, Corry Evans, Jimmy Derbyshire, Daniel Galbraith and Magnus Eikrem) will recieve professional contracts or continue into a third scholarship year, but all will be remaining at the club for the forthcoming season. In other contract news, Brazilian twins Fábio and Rafael signed professional deals last Wednesday (their 18th birthday) – something that had been common knowledge to most with an interest in MUFC for several months, yet seemed to take the mainstream football media by huge surprise.

~ This summer has always looked likely to be something of a crossroads for Chris Eagles’ career, and that increasingly looks the case after it emerged that Championship side Burnley are seriously interested in taking the 22 year-old midfielder to Turf Moor. Clarets boss Owen Coyle has had discussions with the player and his agent, but media reports suggesting a medical had been conducted last Monday are wide of the mark. Eagles is expected to cost Burnley (or any other interested club) somewhere in the region of £1.5m.

~ Those released by United this summer are continuing to seek new employment. Winger Michael Barnes played for Bristol City as a triallist in Saturday’s friendly against Forest Green Rovers but didn’t do enough to earn a permanent contract, City boss Gary Johnson stating diplomatically that “there isn’t an opportunity for him here at the moment” (you wonder why he was given a trial at all if that’s genuinely the case…). Left-back Michael Lea is expected to line-up for Scunthorpe, again on trial, in tomorrow night’s friendly at Brigg Town.

More promisingly, Sean Evans has been on trial at Inverness Caledonian Thistle for the past week or so and has had that trial period extended after impressing at the weekend. The left-winger from Ludlow has been speaking to the Scottish Sun about the difficulties young players face trying to break through at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson’s role in getting him a trial at ICT and the other options available to him:

“If I’m being honest, at Manchester United I didn’t really expect to establish myself in the first team. When they can buy a Brazilian who is younger than you and better than you for £20 million you have to be realistic. You are not up against your peers from England and Scotland, you are up against the best on the planet.

It is nice to learn that someone like Sir Alex, probably the greatest manager in the world, has taken notice of a younger lad like me to give a good word. I don’t know exactly what was said but it means a lot.

There have been a few clubs in England interested, but Caley Thistle led the way in taking me on trial. There has been interest in The Championship and trial offers from League One, but it’s not that often you get the chance to play in The SPL. I just want to play at the highest level possible.”

One released player who has found a new club is 17 year-old striker David Williams, who was released from the academy in late 2007 but has now signed for Oldham Athletic on a one-year professional deal. Williams is currently out of action with a long-term knee injury that disrupted a trial with the Latics last season, but the Boundary Park outfit have clearly seen enough to consider the youngster worthy of taking a chance on.

~ Just a quick note on the youngsters involved in the first team’s opening pre-season friendly at Aberdeen on Saturday. Ben Amos and substitute Gary Woods kept a clean sheet between them, Lee Martin started the game on the left-wing, while Jonathan Evans, Danny Simpson, Chris Eagles, Darron Gibson, Sam Hewson and Fraizer Campbell all got valuable minutes on the field alongside more senior colleagues. The first-team squad fly out to South Africa on Wednesday and it will be interesting to see which of those go on tour – we’ll have that news as soon as we get it.

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