Some of Old Trafford’s brightest future stars will tackle the best Northern Ireland teenage talent in a curtain raiser to this summer’s SuperCupNI in Coleraine.
Manchester United’s Under-18s coach Kieran McKenna jumped at the opportunity to test his young hopefuls in what turns out to be a special homecoming for the Fermanagh man.
Kieran captained Northern Ireland in the Elite competition back in 2005 and played for his County in the Junior tournament four years earlier.
The challenge game at Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday, July 22, is expected to sell out quickly as United fans get the chance to celebrate the club’s return to the international youth tournament after a two-year absence.
McKenna, who played for Enniskillen Town and Ballinamallard United before signing for Tottenham Hotspur, has happy memories of the competition and is happy and honoured to be getting involved all over again with a squad of young stars he has been working with since he joined United’s coaching staff from Spurs last September.
In recent years fans at the SuperCupNI saw future stars such as Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard in action at the tournament. Striker Rashford, now an established England international, was part of the United squad that won the Premier title in 2014, along with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson who scored the only goal in the final against French side Vendee.
“If our boys get in the first team, they will play against South Americans and others from all over Europe, Asia and the rest of the world so they need to get used to playing against those kinds of teams collectively as well as individual players.
“Their styles of play are different to British players so the boys who represent us at international tournaments gain some invaluable experience.
“It’s great for the Irish fans over there as any time United play in Ireland at any level, there is immense interest.”