Wayne Rooney backs Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup bid

by Tanveer Arayan

Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United’s youngsters to grab the opportunity to impress ahead of the start of their FA Youth Cup campaign tonight.

Paul McGuinness’s U18s side are preparing to face QPR at Leigh Sports Village, with the winners taking on Chelsea.

Rooney played in the competition for Everton when he was a young player rising through the ranks and he insisted Man United’s youngsters can follow in his footsteps.

“It’s great. I played in it the year before that with the older lads and it was a great experience,” Rooney said.

“I then played in it again in 2002 and we got to the final. I think I scored in every stage of the competition.

“It was a good feeling to play at the stadiums of the different teams and to just feel and sense that atmosphere of what football could be like in the professional game.

“Actually, after that FA Youth Cup final [against Aston Villa], David Moyes came to the dressing room and said I’d be doing pre-season with the first team. It shows, if you do well in that, you don’t know who is watching and how far your career can progress after that.”

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A number of young players such as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcus Rashford have made the step up to first-team affairs this season.

Louis van Gaal has come under scrutiny in recent weeks but supporters cannot say that he hasn’t given youngsters their chance. A good run from the youth team in the Cup might see more of them catch the eye before being given an opportunity in the first-team.

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