Manchester United under-23s captain Joe Riley joins Bradford Town on permanent deal

by Alex Turk

Young Manchester United defender Joe Riley has joined League One side Bradford City on a two-year deal.

Riley captained Ricky Sbragia’s under-23 team at United throughout the 2017-18 season after turning down multiple opportunities to move to lower league clubs – Bradford being one of them – on loan last summer.

The 21-year-old has impressed throughout the youth ranks at United and can play at both right and left-back, despite starting his career as a right-winger.

After his move to West Yorkshire was confirmed on Friday afternoon, Riley took the time to thank United for his time at the club:

“Manchester United has been my home, my family for the last 15 years. It is every boy’s dream to play for this club and I can proudly say I have achieved this,” he said in a statement on the club’s official website.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone – from all the coaches that have helped me along the way, the staff, the many players I’ve played alongside while growing up but, most importantly, the fans that have shown constant support throughout my whole time here.

“I have so many unforgettable memories and experiences that I’ll forever be grateful for, but I personally feel now is the right time for me to move on and to start the next chapter of my career. I wish everyone at the club the very best and again thank you.”

Riley only made two first-team appearances at United, both under former manager Louis van Gaal, in a 3-0 FA Cup win at Shrewsbury Town and in the Europa League against Danish outfit FC Midtjylland during the 2015-16 campaign.

He also has experience in the third tier, but only played twice while on loan at Sheffield United after colliding with a fence in training and dislocating his shoulder just one month after moving there.

Riley should prove to be a terrific signing for Bradford, who will be looking to strive towards promotion to the Championship after a disappointing season during which they finished 11th.

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