Manchester United are in talks with former England midfielder Tom Huddlestone over a role at the club where he will be playing with the Under-21 team.
United have been looking for a replacement for Paul McShane, who was a hybrid coach-player until hanging up his boots this summer, and have turned to Huddlestone who had eight seasons with Tottenham Hotspur and also played in the Premier League with Hull City.
Huddlestone, 35, will be allowed to play as an over-aged player in Premier League 2 matches, which is an under-21 competition meaning he will be wearing the United shirt, with clubs allowed five over-aged outfield players and one goalkeeper.
After leaving Hull at the end of last season, Huddlestone has been looking to take his first steps into coaching and the opportunity at United appears ideal to his situation. He will be giving his experience to United’s Academy players on the pitch as well as at the club’s Carrington’s training base.
Having a player-coach in the squad of the Academy was the brainchild of Nick Cox, United’s head of Academy, and the appointment of McShane has been viewed as a success. The Republic of Ireland centre-back started in United’s Academy before returning in 2021 as a player-coach.
Cox believed it brought value to the United Academy to have a player with experience alongside youngsters in matches to give in-game coaching, with the club looking for their next coach following the retirement of McShane, who will continue coaching,
United have been looking at signing a No 6 and Huddlestone is not a signing for the first team. At the peak of his career, he was a creative deep-lying midfielder with a passing range that saw him play for Spurs when they qualified for the Champions League, while earning four England caps during his career.
Huddlestone is expected to play fewer games than McShane but will be involved in training sessions every day with United’s players coming through the ranks.
Ten Hag’s Old Trafford debut to be marred by Glazer protests
By James Ducker
Erik ten Hag’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager will come amid a backdrop of fresh protests against the Glazer family’s “unfit” ownership of the club.
While United prepare to head into the new season with questions about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future providing an unwelcome sideshow for Ten Hag, the club are also bracing themselves for further demonstrations from fans calling for the removal of the Glazers.
United’s final three home games of last season were played out against acrimonious protests and supporter fury at the American owners as the club slumped to their worst campaign of the Premier League era.
Back in May, Richard Arnold expressed hope that a new era under Ten Hag would help quell fan unrest.
But the chief executive’s pleas look likely to fall on deaf ears with “The 1958” supporters’ group confirming plans for more protests on Sunday, when United are due to face Brighton in their opening league game at Old Trafford.
Fans are being urged to meet at Media City at Salford Quays at noon before marching to Old Trafford an hour later ahead of the 2pm kick off.
The 1958 group said on their Twitter account that they hoped their protests would see the Megastore at Old Trafford’s East Stand and the directors’ entrance in the Munich tunnel closed off. Previous protests have seen the steel shutters come down and the directors’ entrance flanked by security staff and police.
“The Glazers are unfit and improper owners,” the1958 said. “We will always support the club. We will always support the manager. We will always rise up against the current owners and any puppet hierarchy they appoint. Our club’s future is our only motivation.”