Neil Ryan: The principles of the Manchester United academy

All photographs courtesy of Manchester United with prior written approval.


Preparing young footballers at a club such as Manchester United is no easy feat. What are the key principles that you try and engrain into the players that you work with each day?

First of all we start with the basics such as hard work and desire. Every player needs to have a strong work ethic and a dedication to the game.

Respect for your fellow players and coaches is of paramount importance also. We strive to produce high quality human beings as well as high quality footballers.

Everything we do within the academy is structured to ensure that the players remain humble. It’s vital that the boys learn not to get too carried away with success and not to get too down when they’re going through a difficult period in their career as well. Success and failure of part of the journey as a footballer and for any human being in everyday life too.

The boys have to learn to take the knocks that will come along the way for them as well as the success that will that they will undoubtedly have. We teach them to react to the ups and downs with an even appraisal of what they’re doing in order to improve and become the best possible footballers and human beings that they can be.

Published by Callum McFadden

Football CFB founder. Freelance football writer & broadcaster of over 350 interviews with professional players and managers across all levels of football.

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