Darren Moore's Sheffield Wednesday hoping to build on link with Manchester United

Sheffield Wednesday are hoping to build on an fledgling link with Premier League giants Manchester United as Darren Moore’s contacts in academy football continue to bear fruit.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 12:53 pm

The Owls boss is a friend of United head of academy player development Justin Cochrane, a former Rotherham United defender who spent time coaching in England youth ranks before making the switch to Old Trafford in the summer.

Earlier this season a pair of highly-rated United youngsters spent time training with Wednesday as part of a pilot ‘Pro Experience’ scheme aimed at exposing academy players to the day-to-day rigours of professional football without signing on loan.

This entailed the youngsters embroiling themselves in every aspect of life as an EFL footballer, from life at the training ground to analysis and match preparation.

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As per The Athletic, the two United youngsters to have spent time with Wednesday are under-23s pair Charlie McNeill, an 18-year-old forward signed from Manchester City for £750,000 last year, and Dutch youth international Dillon Hoogewerf, also 18, who arrived at United from Ajax in 2019.

The link between the two clubs goes further in that Wednesday travelled to United’s Carrington training ground at the start of the season, where they played a behind-closed-doors match aimed partly at getting Owls striker Lee Gregory up to speed after his signing. Gregory scored twice and hasn’t looked back.

Whether the mutual relationship between the two clubs leads to more formal player moves remains to be seen.

Wednesday’s involvement in the Pro Experience pilot has also been extended to other clubs, with young Red Devils also sent out to Forest Green Rovers and AFC Wimbledon in recent weeks.

Manchester United youngster Dillon Hoogewerf spent time with Sheffield Wednesday as part of the Red Devils' 'Pro Experience' pilot.

A statement from Manchster United Head of Academy Nick Cox said: “We know that they will return to Carrington with a renewed sense of purpose that will benefit the individual and the wider training group.

“Justin Cochrane has been pivotal in establishing this initiative, it is thanks to a number of fantastic relationships that we have been able to establish a really exciting experience for the Professional Development Phase group.

“We want to thank Sheffield Wednesday for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing the numerous benefits that this programme will bring for our players both on and off the pitch.”