Revealed: Why Manchester United have appointed a gymnast

Saurav Kapoor / 28 January 2016

It is no secret that Manchester United’s youth setup is in disarray ever since the departure of Brian McClair and United have stepped up their efforts to arrest the slide. The fact that the sons of Ex-Manchester United stars, Robin Van Persie and Darren Fletcher trained with the Manchester City academy (even when Van Persie and Fletcher were playing for United) is enough proof of the superiority of City’s youth structure. Currently, United’s under-18s are just 30 points behind rivals City.

In a bid to build the next class of ’92 United are planning an overhaul of their academy and are also on the lookout for a new academy chief and in an attempt to improve their dismal youth setup United have done something unorthodox. The Red Devils have teamed up with gymnast Beth Tweddle as they hope to improve the club’s academy structure.Tweddle recently set up her own Manchester-based gymnastics company Total Gymnastics, to increase sports participation within the city.

United have provided an explanation for the appointment of Tweddle on their official website. The club recognised that the young players were “losing their basic movement skills associated with early years’ outdoor play” and hence they have made the appointment.


“We know there is a real opportunity to improve children’s basic movement skills and that’s why we are working so hard with our after-school Total Gymnastics classes and our in-demand primary schools curriculum,” Olympic Bronze medalist Tweddle said.

“We are delighted to be working with the young players at the world’s leading academy. This is a fantastic experience for me and my staff and exciting to think that we may be helping to develop the next world-class player to be produced through the United Academy.”

United’s head of performance, Tony Strudwick, added: “As a world-class club, we have to be associated with world-class providers and working with Beth and Total Gymnastics certainly ticks that box.

“I’m sure the inclusion of a gymnastic element into out younger development programme will result in players that move more efficiently, are better all-around athletes and become more robust.

“It’s our duty to continually update our development programme to give our young players the best chance of becoming professional footballers.”

After United are done with their academy revamp they might want to have a look at their first-team too who haven’t been doing spectacularly either.

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