By 90Min
May 26, 2019

Manchester United's academy are set to take the unusual step of paying to host friendlies against 'glamour' opposition next season, after the first team's failure to qualify for the Champions League means they are unable to compete in the prestigious UEFA Youth League.

The U19 tournament has become a key part of the academy set-up for all top clubs, with the fixtures mirroring those of the first-team in the European Cup thus allowing the academies of all the best teams in Europe to test themselves against one another.

Image by James Bell

For example if, as is what happened last year, United and Italian giants Juventus are drawn together in the Champions League then their young sides will also play each other in the Youth League.

However, as the Red Devils finished sixth in the top flight last season, they will instead be taking part in the Europa League meaning their place in the youth competition has gone.

Dave Thompson/GettyImages

Because of that, The Mirror is reporting that the United academy, headed up by the club's former midfielder Nicky Butt, are willing to pay for top-quality opposition to play against their junior sides in a series of friendly matches.

It has been suggested that the offer will be extended to teams such as Juve and Dutch champions Ajax, meaning the academy players will still get an opportunity to play against the best their age group has to offer.

It's understood the idea has come from Butt, who wants to make sure the teenagers do not miss out on the experience of competing against high-level teams.

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Ultimately, this situation is another example of the impact the senior side's poor performance during this campaign has had, not only on themselves, but the entire club.

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