Manchester United lose top coach to Premier League rival

Manchester United
Photo: Getty images

Manchester United have lost a top academy coach to a Premier League rival this summer.

Premier League side Brentford have poached highly-rated Manchester United academy coach Justin Cochrane, according to The Athletic.

Cochrane only joined United last summer as head of player development and coaching but wants to make the move to senior football.

He was instrumental in Manchester United winning the FA Youth Cup in May for the first time since 2011.

He is very well regarded at Old Trafford for the impact he has had on improving the club’s young players, though has harboured a desire to move into senior coaching.

Cochrane joins three other coaches in leaving United’s academy this year following the departures of Neil Ryan, Neil Wood and Alan Fettis.

Photo: Getty images

Academy head Nick Cox said as quoted by The Athletic: “Naturally, we are pleased that Justin has been able to fulfil his ambition of working in a first-team environment.

“I am proud of the world-class learning environment that we have created for our staff and take great satisfaction in seeing them progress both within the club or through external opportunities.

“The changes implement an ideal blend of long-standing club personnel and outstanding external appointments as we continue to appoint best-in-class staff throughout our world-leading youth development system.”

Cox also told The Athletic how he had persuaded Cochrane to leave his job as head coach of England under-17s to join United.

“I wanted to find the best possible person for that role,” Cox said.

“I had seen Justin present and had interaction with him through some of our players being on England duty. I was impressed with his approach, building rapport and connection with young people.

“I was also aware Brexit meant we would bring in boys from all over this country and he has his finger on the pulse. We had to work quite hard to get him here.”

Cochrane enjoyed a 13-year playing career, featuring for the likes of Queens Park Rangers and Crewe Alexander.

Before joining United, he worked with Tottenham’s underage groups, helping to develop players such as Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp.

The departure of Cochrane is definitely a big loss to new manager Erik ten Hag who desires a strong academy.

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