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YOUTH: The lads have set a standard

20 March 2014

Alan Moore on the Burnley and Oldham games

Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his reaction to the Oldham and Burnley games.

“It’s been good, again, for the lads to get some minutes on the pitch under their belts,” he said. 

“I love playing against Burnley for a number of reasons. They play football in a great way, they have good tempo and they’re not all about results. They’re about bringing players through and they’ve shown that again by getting to the semi-finals of the U21 development cup. They are the only category 3 club to get to that stage, so they have a proven record of developing up and coming young players. They’re always a tough test and the lads had to put a real shift in to get their result. 

“A lot of things I am trying to implement were on display in that game with the way Burnley play. It was good for our lads to see the standard that I would like us to get to, at some stage. I’ve looked back over the DVD from the game and we coped with it really well on the day. We now need to make sure that it wasn’t a one-off performance. The lads have set a standard and I want to see them maintain it.”

“The Oldham game ended up as a 4-1 defeat, but I can accept that because it wasn’t a real reflection of how the game went,” he continued. “We created a lot of chances but, again, it’s not so much about that. It’s about the way we want to bring new ideas in, so we’re asking the lads to do slightly different things at the moment. It isn’t always easy to do that half way through a season and we tend to use the games as a way of helping it all to sink in.”

“The group has had a bit of a rest from the intensity of the games this week but we go again with a home game against Shrewsbury on Saturday,” he told us. “It’s another opportunity for us to see how quickly they can take the information we’re giving them on board and that’s an aspect which has been pleasing so far. 

“Yes, there has to be bits of fine tuning, but I don’t mind that. The bigger picture is about getting players through to the next stage so we have to keep reminding everyone that it isn’t always about the final result on a Saturday afternoon.”

“To be fair to this group I can see they all want to learn,” he said. “We’re giving them the games to watch on DVD so they can go away and look at themselves. If they aren’t too sure about anything they can then come and sit with me and we’ll go over it again until they know what we’re looking for.

“It’s been part of the learning curve for the lads to actually sit, reflect on, and analyse their own performances. It’s a big part of their development from the age of 16 through to 21 and we are here to help them with all of it.”

And on working closely with the first team squad, he said: “We try to get our lads up to a speed where, if they are needed to help out with a first team session, they can slot in fairly easily. It’s taken a couple of months to get them there, because of the lack of games, but we’ve had Patrick Brough, Kyle Dempsey and Jake Chisholm involved in the senior sessions recently and they’ve been able to handle it. 

“Obviously we have decisions to make on the second years and I would imagine that will be coming in the near future. We’ll have a meeting with all of the staff and we’ll decide what we want to do. There’s a lot going on at the club at the moment but it’s all part and parcel of football. The second years have it this year but it’s something they have to get used to in life. They just have to look at those in the first team squad who are on one year contracts. They have to go through it as well. Players have to be able to deal with it as they go through their careers.”

Looking ahead to the weekend, he told us: “As I say, we go again with a home game against Shrewsbury on Saturday. That’s the start of a run of six games and the lads should look at it as a chance to get more game time. 

“We have a fully fit squad for the first time this season with Frankie Wallace back and in training. That’s a massive lift for him because he’s in contention again. He was on the bench for the game at Burnley and he’ll be looking forward to being out there and playing.

“Ellis Pearson, one of our U16s, played the full game at Burnley even though he’s not here to hear what we’re asking for on a day to day basis. We’ve asked him to sit in the back four, play a high line and to stay compact, and he has managed to do it all even though he has had very limited information passed his way. It’s great to see that kind of thing and I can’t wait to get the new intake in so that I can work with them every day next season.”

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United v Oldham: Brass, Marshall, Pearson, White, Chisholm, Dickson, Dempsey, Hammell (J Elliott 65), Blackburn, Hodgson (Brown 80), Moyes. Subs – Eccles, Hurley, Rudd.

Goal: Blackburn

United v Burnley: Brass, Marshall, Pearson, White, Chisholm, Dickson, Hodgson, Hammell, Blackburn, Dempsey, Moyes. Subs – Eccles, Wallace, D Elliot, Rudd, Brown.

Goals: Hodgson, Chisholm.
United v Shrewsbury, Saturday 22 March, kick off 11am, Creighton Rugby Club

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