Nottingham Forest U18’s will face Manchester United U18’s at Old Trafford on Wednesday night in the domestically renowned, admired and legendary known FA Youth Cup Final in what will be an historical night, not just for both two famous teams wearing Red, but for English football too, as the match having sold already over 62,000 tickets, will be the biggest attended youth club game in the country, ever.
The previous record attendance for a final was 38,000 at Arsenal and that has already been smashed with pre-game tickets priced at just £1 already snapped up. Nottingham Forest will take near five and a half thousands travelling supporters to Manchester with club transport ahead of the match already sold out.
A momentous occasion for the young Reds appearing in the final for the first ever time in the clubs prolonged history, who take on a United side who have a record ten titles dating back to the first ever competition in 1952/53.
Legendary names have won this competition in the past for the Red Devils including Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, Pul Scholes, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and many more.
The class of 22 for United this year includes the likes of Charlie McNeill and Alejandro Garnacho, who himself made his first team debut as a late substitute in the recent draw at Chelsea, both excelled in the 3-0 semi-final win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, whilst Kobbie Mainoo and Joe Hugill are both also highly rated.
For Forest, they beat two time UEFA youth league winners Chelsea 3-1 in the semi-final at the City Ground and will include the mercurial 17-year-old Detlef Esapa Osong in attack, as well as Northern Ireland international forward Dale Taylor who has recently made the bench for first team games.
Two clubs with proud history of bringing youngsters through the Academy system, fitting that these two sides will be playing in front of a record crowd in English football.
Nottingham Forest in recent years have brought through household names including the likes of Jermaine Jenas, Michael Dawson, Andy Reid, Wes Morgan, Jamaal Lascelles, Ben Brereton, Matty Cash and three players very much in the first team picture today, Joe Worrall, Ryan Yates and Brennan Johnson, and as the tables go on this particular match up, it’s a tougher one to call than it perhaps first looks?
Nottingham Forest have had a fine season in the U18 Premier League North and go into the game unbeaten in thirteen in all competitions having won their last seven matches with recent victories over Everton and Liverpool.
Warren Joyce’s side have also beaten champions Manchester City this season although they did lose at the Nigel Doughty Academy against United 2-0 back in November.
United themselves are third in the table and unbeaten in four with just one defeat in their last nine.
Ironically, three days after the final at Old Trafford the two teams will meet at Carrington in front of a crowd probably near to only a few hundred to close their league campaign. A win there could take Forest above United in the title, but a much bigger carrot on Wednesday night is trying to take the FA Youth Cup back to the City Ground, for the first ever time.
The game will be played at Old Trafford simply because United were drawn first out of the hat, but no complaints from anyone associated with Nottingham Forest to be able to house their best in youth at the Theatre of Dreams. The kick off is 7:30pm and those not able to go may be able to watch through MUTV, the FA’s iPlayer and via Facebook for a one off fee of 99p.
Manchester United (from): Tom Wooster, Radek Vitek, Sam Murray, Rhys Bennett, Marc Jurado, Tyler Fredricson, Logan Pye, Willy Kambwala, Isak Hansen, Sam Mather, Daniel Gore, Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho, Charlie McNeill, Ethan Ennis, Joe Hugill, Manni Norkett.
One to watch: Alejandro Garnacho, a speedy silky wide man who can shoot either foot with a trick up his sleeve.
Nottingham Forest (from): Aaron Bott, Alex Akers, Pharrell Johnson, Ben Hammond, Jamie McDonnell, Sam Collins, Jack Perkins, Ben Perry, Joe Gardner, Kyle McAdam, Josh Powell, Jack Nadin, Zach Abbott, Justin Hanks, Dale Taylor, Detlef Esapa Osong, Jack Thompson, Aaron Korpal.
One to watch: Detlef Esapa Osong, physical and quick with an eye for goal has nineteen goals this season.
Venue & time: Old Trafford, Manchester, 7:30pm Wednesday 11th May 2022.
*Main image @NFFCAcademy Dale Taylor has already been capped by Northern Ireland this season.