It is clear to all who follow Manchester United how important it is for the club to promote their own. Katie Zelem, Ella Toone and Millie Turner all progressed through the ranks of the RTC, with Keira Barry and Alyssa Aherne among the latest to be involved in the senior set-up.
Ensuring that this pathway remains well-trodden is evidently as key to the players as it is to the fans. Towards the end of 2022, Mary Earps and Sophie Baggaley spent time with budding goalkeepers in the RTC, and last month, Hayley Ladd became the latest first-teamer to lead a session – putting the Under-10s and Under-16s through their paces.
The Hertfordshire-born midfielder made the short trip to Eccles Sixth-Form College, home of the RTC, where she watched each age group train, and joined the U10s for one-versus-one sessions against the girls before later taking part in a Q&A.
She then linked up with the U16s to deliver a tactical masterclass on pressing from the front.
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet the girls and see the exciting talent coming through,” Hayley enthused.
“Having the opportunity to coach the girls and develop my own skills in that area was really beneficial to me and something I’m looking to do more of. I really hope that girls took something positive away from the session.”
“To have any of our first-team not only attend but lead a session is an incredible experience for the girls,” Matt Johnson, RTC Technical Director, added.
“It’s great for the young players to see that there is a strong connection between the RTC and first-team, not only in terms of a clear pathway for them to progress, but also in terms of actual support from the current players.
“It fosters a feeling of togetherness which I think is invaluable for the club as a whole.”
This sentiment was certainly shared by one of the young players in the U10s squad.
“I was so excited to meet and then play against Hayley Ladd,” Hallie said. “I have seen her play live for United, so for me to able to join with her session was super special.”
Following on from Hayley’s session, the RTC were treated to yet another workshop with Reds goalkeeping coach Ian Willcock. Click here to watch more from that session