Will Keane – Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year
Posted by nickogs20 on May 4, 2010
It’s the night of the annual Manchester United Player of the Year Awards, and the first gong of the evening has gone to Will Keane, the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year for 2009/2010.
The 17 year-old edged out teammates Scott Wootton and Nicky Ajose to earn the vote of U18s Head Coach and Assistant Academy Director Paul McGuinness and win the coveted award that is named in honour of Sir Matt Busby’s legendary assistant Jimmy Murphy, who played such a huge part in the founding of a commitment to develop, educate and bring through young footballers that has served this club so well over the past 60-plus years.
Director of Academy Football and former Reds striker Brian McClair presented the award (after an entertaining preamble that included pointed references to ‘certain rivals with lots of cash’ and their approach to youth recruitment) to a nervous but delighted Keane, who told host Jim Rosenthal of his pride at being named the best of a very impressive crop of players in the academy this season: “It’s a great achievement, I’m obviously honoured, I’ve supported United all my life so I’m really pleased“. The award capped quite a day for the Stockport-born forward, who just hours ago had grabbed the opener as the U18s beat Everton 2-0 to clinch the Academy League Group C title.
Scott Wootton has enjoyed a hugely consistent and commanding season at the back for both the U18s and the Reserves this season while Nicky Ajose has shown terrific improvement, great versatility and a real knack for creating and scoring vital goals for McGuinness’ side, and either would have been a deserving winner of the award. Indeed, a number of other plays can consider themselves unfortunate to not even be nominated, Conor Devlin, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Joshua King in particular.
As it is, Keane’s 13 academy goals, wonderful all-round displays and seamless introduction to reserve football have rightly just got him the nod. “Will has been such a smooth operator in his first year,” McGuinness told MUTV. “He’s been really outstanding and has scored some stunning goals but his general team play and his demeanour, his attitude on and off the pitch, have been excellent“.
Will follows in the footsteps of some impressive names, with his name now engraved on the award alongside those of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wes Brown and Darron Gibson, who provide the blueprint for progression from this stage of a career to becoming an established part of the first team squad at United. Interestingly, the England U17 ace is the third striker to win the award in the last three years, Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda having won in 2008 and 2009 respectively. For a club that has surprisingly not really had a forward come through the ranks since Mark Hughes over 25 years ago, that’s a significant and hugely encouraging sign.
Congratulations to Will, to Scott and Nicky as well and to everyone involved with the academy after another immensely successful and productive season.