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Manchester United take part in German mini-tournaments

[Photo by Mercedes Benz Media]

Manchester United took advantage of having the weekend off in the U18 Premier League North to fly some of their players out to Germany to take part in some mini-tournaments against a host of other European sides.

A squad of U18 players took part in the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup which is an indoor six-a-side tournament. They also sent a mixed squad of U18s and U17s to take part in the Rewe Junior Cup which is an indoor 5-a-side competition.

Both tournaments offer a great opportunity for scholars to play against European opposition. For a lot of those involved, it was also a chance to test themselves against older players. This created a brilliant chance for players to further their development. Here’s how the two sides fared.

Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup

United took a squad of 12 players to play in the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup. This squad consisted of goalkeepers Tom Wooster and Eric Hanbury as well as outfielders James Nolan, Sonny Aljofree, Jack Kingdon, Sam Murray, Maxi Oyedele, Jack Moorhouse, Manni Norkett, Ethan Wheatley, Sam Mather and Ethan Williams.

The games were played over the 7th and 8th of January and consisted of two nine-minute halves. The tournament started with a group stage which saw United finish top of Group A on six points. The Red Devils defeated Red Bull Leipzig 1-0 in their opening game. This was followed by a 6-3 victory over VfB Stuttgart and a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Galatasaray.

United qualified for the pre-finals stage where they were defeated 2-1 by FC Augsburg before winning 3-2 against FC Cologne. This was enough to reach the semi-finals where they lost 3-1 to eventual winners Rapid Vienna. The Red Devils were then defeated by Augsburg in the third place playoff and finished fourth in the competition.

Norkett and Oyedele topped the United scoring charts with three apiece. All the attacking players involved grabbed at least two goals each with the exception of Mather who suffered an injury early in the tournament.

Rewe Junior Cup

United took a squad of 11 players to play in the Rewe Junior Cup. This squad consisted of goalkeepers Elyh Harrison and William Murdock as well as outfielders Jaydan Kamason, Louis Jackson, Zach Baumann, Miah Oriola, James Scanlon, Sekou Kaba, Shea Lacey, Victor Musa and Adam Berry.

The games were played over the 6th, 7th and 8th of January. United started with a 4-1 victory over JFV Eichsfeld before suffering a 4-2 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt to complete day one. The following day saw the Red Devils thrash JSG Radolfshausen 7-1 and JSG Eintracht 9-0. They also beat SG Werratal 4-2 and earned a 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. This saw United finish third in their group and qualify for the next stage of the tournament.

On Sunday, United suffered back-to-back defeats which saw them eliminated from the competition. Firstly, a 3-2 loss to eventual winners Austria Vienna followed by a 3-0 defeat against AZ Alkmaar. 15-year-old Shea Lacey was the standout star scoring 10 goals and showing off his skillful dribbling regularly. A strong tournament could potentially lead to more opportunities with the U18s for Lacey who has already made one substitute appearance this season.

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