Manchester United under-18s set for two fixtures 18 hours apart
Manchester United’s under-18s side have been one of the positives from a difficult 2021/22 season for the club.
While the first team were losing at Arsenal on Saturday, the under-18s were dealing out a 6-0 demolition of Newcastle.
Omari Forson (2), Joe Hugill, Sam Mather, Maxi Oyedele, and Ethan Ennis were among the scorers.
Now to follow up, the under-18s face another test, with two games 18 hours apart.
4 games in 8 days
A fixture pile-up has been created due to postponements earlier in the season, due to a combination of bad weather and Covid.
A game against Blackburn for instance had to be postponed twice, once for a waterlogged pitch and the second time due to a snowstorm 10 minutes after kick-off.
This week the fixtures are being rattled through, as part of four matches for the under-18s in eight days, with the first having taken place against Newcastle at the weekend.
On Tuesday night United’s under-18s are at home against Blackburn in a 7pm kick-off
Then on Wednesday United’s under-18s are away to Wolves at 1pm, just 18 hours after the Blackburn game kicks-off.
It is a remarkably quick turnaround, before United are back in action on Saturday home to Derby.
Then there is a break, before the FA Youth Cup final against Nottingham Forest on May 11, before a league game against the same team three days later.
United have the players to field two XIs
It seems possible there will be some players doing double duty in some form. Dan Gore for instance, played as a substitute for the under-23s recently before playing 90 minutes for the 18s the next day.
But United do have the numbers to field two different XIs, able to draft in players from the under-16s, and also drop them down from the under-23s, with several like Charlie McNeill and Joe Hugill eligible for both sides.
Alejandro Garnacho, who rarely plays under-18s league games now, could also be drafted in to help.
The good news is there is no overseas tournaments or international games, which have coincided recently with re-arranged under-18s fixtures, leaving United without several regulars.
Results are not massively important at this level, and the main goal will be to come through the matches unscathed ahead of the Youth Cup final – but if United do win both games, it will be a testament to the quality of the players in the club’s academy.