United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Awards Night

Posted by nickogs20 on May 17, 2009

With everyone associated with Manchester United still buzzing after yesterday’s title celebrations, attention tonight turns towards recognising and rewarding those responsible for that terrific achievement and everything the club has accomplished (thus far…) this season. Much of the focus will naturally be on who will win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Award, as well as the Players’ Player and Goal of the Season awards, but of particular interest to contributors and readers of this site will of course be the Reserve Player and Young Player winners.

We know already that the winner of the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award, will be either James Chester, Tom Cleverley or Corry Evans, the three nominees chosen by reserves boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his assistant Warren Joyce. Ole had the following to say to manutd.com about their choices:

“We work with them every day and not once have one of those three been on my list of players who’ve underachieved. They know that every single day is a day to improve. To become a top athlete you have to practice up to 10,000 hours – that’s a researched fact. Whatever you do, you have to practice and train to be the best. And those three recognise that, their attitude and performances have been top class every single day.”

“There are others who deserved to be nominated as well. Kiko (Macheda) has come in and scored ten for the Reserves and two for the first team. (Danny) Welbeck’s scored four in four in the league and he’s done well in the first team. Fábio and Rafael moved up to the first team so they’re away from us, Matty James has been fantastic. It’s really hard to leave anyone out because they’ve been so good, but those three we picked because of what they’ve shown day-in, day-out.”

James Chester started the season as reserve captain and shone, ultimately doing enough to earn himself a first-team debut against Derby in the Carling Cup before heading off for a successful month’s loan with Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United. Injury sadly brought a premature end to his season, as it did Tom Cleverley’s – the 20 year-old midfielder scored for the first-team in pre-season, excelled for the second string over the first half of the campaign before playing a big part in Leicester City’s title-winning campaign in League One, a dislocated shoulder ultimately ruling him out of the run-in.

In that respect, Corry Evans was the last man standing in a way, the only one of the trio to complete the season. The midfielder from Belfast found himself converted to centre-half in something of an emergency, but before he and we knew it he was skippering the side and putting in consistently outstanding displays at the back as the Reds put in a storming second half of the reserve season.

Richard Eckersley - current holder of the Denzil Haroun award

Richard Eckersley - current holder of the Denzil Haroun award

Whether the winner is Chester, Cleverley or Evans, we will definitely have a deserving winner to follow in the footsteps of last year’s recipient Richard Eckersley and an illustrious list of former victors, including Nicky Butt, John O’Shea, Darren Fletcher and Giuseppe Rossi.

The Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award goes to the leading light of the academy season, and again will be one from a list of three chosen by the coaches, this time Academy Manager Paul McGuinness and Director of Youth Football Jim Ryan, although one slight difference will be that the winner will also be chosen by that pair, unlike the Reserve Player of the Year winner who will be chosen by the fans.

Those three nominees, not formally announced until minutes ago on MUTV, are no real surprise – strikers Kiko Macheda and Danny Welbeck, still just 17 and 18 respectively, have made a real mark at all levels this season, notably with the first team of course, while 17 year-old midfielder Matt James has starred for both the Under-18s and the Reserves this year, scoring 10 goals in 36 games.

Welbeck of course won the award last season, and has the chance to follow in the impressive footsteps of Ryan Giggs and Wes Brown, the only players to have previously won the award in consecutive years. The list of one-time winners is no less distinguished, featuring Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Giuseppe Rossi, as well as current prospects Craig Cathcart and Darron Gibson.

The awards are due to be handed out over the next 90 minutes or so, with the players and guests currently enjoying their meal and the entertainment. We’ll have the results of the two awards we have a particular interest in over the course of the next couple of hours.

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One Response to “Awards Night”

  1. Tone said

    Right players won in my opinion, but Kiko should have got the goal as well!

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