Manchester United to appoint Tom Huddlestone as U21 player-coach
Huddlestone left Hull City in the summer
Former Tottenham Hotspur and England midfielder Tom Huddlestone is set to join Manchester United as a player-coach for the club's U21s.
The 35-year-old, who left Hull City in the summer, will use his experience to help mentor the Red Devils' young players as they look to progress and develop into first-team players.
Last season, United recruited defender Paul McShane, who was later promoted to full-time player development phase coach.
McShane and Huddlestone know each other from their time together at Hull, and the former knew that Huddlestone had a desire to get into coaching.
The 36-year-old McShane made only five appearances last season in his mentor role, and it is thought that Huddlestone is unlikely to play more than that - barring any injuries. He views the opportunity as very much a coaching role, and hopes that he can use his ability to help drive standards by taking part in training sessions.
The expectation is that Tom Huddlestone will make even fewer appearances for #mufc youth, unless there is an injury crisis, with his role more focused on coaching rather than playing matches #mujournal
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) August 2, 2022
Nick Cox keen to recruit Huddlestone
The club's academy manager Nick Cox is keen to bring Huddlestone to Old Trafford and views his appointment as vital. Cox wants the younger United players to learn from the former England international and tap into his experience.
Premier League rivals Liverpool have taken a similar step this summer by bringing back Jay Spearing to work with their U21 squad.
The Red Devils have made a number of changes to their coaching set up this summer, with former Porto, West Ham and Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy joining first-team manager Erik ten Hag's staff at the weekend.
'I'm grateful to the people who made it happen'
Tom Huddlestone had made 242 Premier League appearances during his playing career, registering 12 goals and 24 assists.
Back in May, Paul McShane announced he would be hanging up his playing boots for good after his season-long stint as player-coach with the United U23s. The former Ireland international told the club website:
"I'm calling it a day playing now. I’ve had 20 years playing and I’ve come back into the club as a player-coach in the Under-23s. It’s been a great year and great experience but now it’s time to fully focus on the next stage of my career, which will be in coaching.
"It’s amazing how things work out. It’s a great way to end my career, to come back here and help the future generation with their careers. It was perfect, to be honest with you, when this role came about, and I’m grateful to the people who made it happen. I think it’s a great way to end my playing days."
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