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- May 8, 2011
Manchester United Under-18s face Chelsea at Altrincham's J. Davidson Stadium - Official Manchester United Website
Paul McGuinness is pleased with his squad's progress as Manchester United Under-18s prepare to face Chelsea in a crucial showdown at Altrincham's J. Davidson Stadium on Saturday, with free entry for all.
The youngsters have performed superbly in the play-off stages of the nationwide division and moved top of the table with a 2-0 win at Tottenham last weekend. Chelsea are clearly one of the top youth sides in the country, sealing another FA Youth Cup success in midweek, but United approach the penultimate game of the season in confident mood.
Some of the Academy squad have been working with Warren Joyce's Under-21s, which is a natural process, with skipper Axel Tuanzebe getting some minutes on the pitch at that level and others making the bench on occasion.
"It’s exactly what we want," McGuinness explained to ManUtd.com. "Some of them have done very well and it’s the next challenge, the best thing is for them to be with Warren and training with his group.
"Sometimes, they have been involved in the games too and that’s the natural evolution we want of them moving up. Axel has come in and done a good job, seeing out the last few minutes of games, which is all good experience for him. That’s the professionalism as an even higher level of professionalism is required when you’re that close to the first team. Sometimes coming on to do a job in a position that is not your normal one is all good for development."
The here and now is very much about the Under-18 team and their quest for what would be a remarkable title triumph. Middlesbrough, one of the main rivals for the crown, will provide the opposition in the final game of the campaign on 9 May at Rockcliffe Park.