Manchester United’s FA Cup win huge for young squad

Manchester United’s FA Cup win this season is a huge hurdle its young squad has overcome.

The Reds beat Crystal Palace 2-1 after extra time at Wembley to claim their first trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. For the majority of the United’s young players, it has been their first season in the senior squad and early success will be huge for their development. A total of 10 players under the age of 25 have made their debut this season alone (including new signings). Although many of the academy graduates have won things at youth level, nothing can compare to senior success.

The famous class of 92 won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup in their first two seasons before going on to help the club achieve one of its most successful periods to date. Early success can only further strengthen a team’s spirit and helps overall squad growth. This season’s cup triumph also helps to end any talk of a baron trophyless run after three years without a title. It prevents pressure mounting regarding when a first senior winners’ medal for many of the squad will come.

As well as providing a huge confidence boost and belief for the squad, it also gives the players a taste of success which can only fuel their desire for more. Under Ferguson, a title-winning season would usually lead to further success the following season. This has become part of the club’s DNA, whilst continuing in the traditions and exceptions. The younger players can only grow having met these expectations to a certain extent while success also endears younger players further to fans.

Back in 2011, I wrote an article about there being a bright, young future at Old Trafford after a number of young players were either signed or promoted to the first team. That side went onto to win a Premier League title, following missing out on goal difference the previous year. Coming from two goals down at Wembley to win the Community Shield 3-2 against Manchester City had an invaluable effect on the newly formed squad’s resolve.

As Jose Mourinho takes over at Old Trafford next season, he can surely not ignore the club’s promising youth at his disposal – especially after winning the FA Cup. Louis van Gaal has followed in the club’s philosophy of promoting youth and hopefully this squad can continue to progress. Although much of United’s young side are yet to experience the success of winning the Premier League, this victory will only help with future title pursuits.


Wigan Athletic squad return revitalised from Tenerife ahead of FA Cup clash with Huddersfield

  Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez’s men, who with 12 Barclays Premier League games to go sit second-bottom of the table, enjoyed top facilities in a Tenerife training camp last week.

The Wigan Athletic players, who face Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup tomorrow, were criticised for posting pictures on Twitter of themselves relaxing, but the Latics manager insists his squad conducted themselves professionally throughout.

Despite criticism, the Spaniard was quick to state the advantages of the training camp and the benefit it has had on his players. 

“I understand certain pictures on social media sites can send the wrong message but the players were very professional. We took advantage of being together for such a long period. We worked a lot more than we would of done here because of the weather and I’m sure the players, and the captain especially, were quick to come out and apologise if any wrong message was sent to the fans.”

Martinez, who was speaking at his manager’s press conference on Friday, also found the time away as an ideal opportunity to review any injuries, while also redefining the squad’s focus going into the closing stages of the season.

“The players had some time to rest as you’d imagine and if they can do that with a bit of sun it can really help their bodies. But overall it was a very positive time, not only for the group dynamics which is always important, but also the work which we put in. Being able to assess everyone individually will give us a real good focus, and advantage for the final third of the season”

It’s the first time Wigan have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup since 1987 and the former Swansea City manager rates the competition very highly along side Premier League survival.

“We are in a fascinating fight, we have twelve games to achieve our aim and we’re involved in another cup competition. The fifth round of the FA Cup, you can’t take it lightly and it’s something that as a group we are ready to look forward to and make sure we have a real strong competitive edge throughout the squad in every single game we are involved in.”

The Wigan manager doesn’t view the FA cup as a distraction but instead as a positive influence which can help overturn his side’s current poor league form of only five victories, six draws and 15 defeats in 26 games this season.

“We are taking this as a help to find our best form in the league. I don’t think both competitions should pull against each other, it’s the opposite, both should help the team in the same direction”

The 39 year old, who has been in charge at the DW since 2009, is wary of the ‘feel good factor’ at Huddersfield with the appointment of new manager Mark Robins and appreciates the threats the Yorkshire side posses.

“We’ve been very impressed with Huddersfield Town so far. I’ve seen a few games, in the previous round, there was a good performances against a very good Leicester side. I think they’re a very dynamic team, they work extremely hard, got a very good combination up front and they’ve got players who can go past players with ease in one-on-one situations. As a team at their own place they’re going to be a very tough team to play against as you’d imagine at this time in this competition.”

The injury situation is easing somewhat for Wigan as they enter a defining stage of the season. Antolin Alcaraz, Emmerson Boyce, Adrian Lopez and winger Ryo Miyaichi all have a chance of returning this weekend as they look to bolster the Athletic squad.

“Boyce, Alcaraz and Miyaichi are starting to work with the group and they could be involved on Sunday, none of the them are likely to play ninety minutes but they could be involved.”

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