Manchester United have confirmed the departure of defender Rhys Bennett on loan to Stockport County.
The 20-year-old will make the short trip from Old Trafford to Edgeley Park for the remainder of the 2023/24 season, as he seeks more experience at senior level.
ℹ️ Young defender Rhys Bennett has completed a loan move to Stockport County until the end of the season.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 19, 2024
Stockport County – currently leading League Two by two points – have a history of welcoming United players on loan, with Will Fish the most recent example.
Old Trafford officials are thought to feel the League Two side’s proximity to Manchester makes them an ideal first foray into senior football for academy graduates. The fact Stockport County are atop their division makes them an even more attractive option as a loan destination.
If a youth player is hoping to establish themselves as a first-team player at United, they will have to be able to cope with the pressures and demands of success. A club hoping to win their league and achieve automatic promotion to League One is a perfect context for development.
Bennett has already enjoyed his first samplings of success while at United already, however.
The centre-back captained the under-18 side to victory in the FA Youth Cup in 2022, scoring in the final in the process as United ran out 3-1 winners against Nottingham Forest. A double from none other than Alejandro Garnacho accompanied Bennett’s goal.
🏆 #FAYouthCup: winners! 🔴
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 11, 2022
The 20-year-old received a new contract this summer, underscoring how “highly-rated” the defender is by both the academy and the first-team coaching staff at Old Trafford.
The centre-back has even been included in Erik ten Hag’s match-day squad on four occasions this season, including the recent trip to the DW Stadium to play Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round. He is yet to make his senior debut, however.
As explained in a report by The Peoples Person, a number of clubs across the footballing pyramid were interested in securing the defender’s services on loan. But it’s United’s neighbours who have won the race for the talented defender.
Stockport County’s travel to Notts County tomorrow – a match which is likely to come too early for Bennett to be included. Their following match, however – away to Doncaster next weekend at 3pm – may see the 20-year-old’s debut at senior level.
Good luck Rhys!