By Neto Baptiste
Former Antigua and Barbuda national footballer, Justin Cochrane, has been appointed head of player development and coaching for EPL and European football powerhouse club, Manchester United.
News broke on Tuesday that the former centre back who played 14 international matches for Antigua and Barbuda had received the nod for the Manchester United role after having left his position as England’s Under-17 head coach.
Cochrane is highly regarded within the Football Association after three years working in England’s youth set-up, with Gareth Southgate describing him as “excellent young coach”.
The 39-year-old had been tipped to replace Aidy Boothroyd as England’s Under-21s head coach, but will instead return to club football with United, having previously forged his reputation at Tottenham Hotspur.
Cochrane will work in conjunction with Under-23s manager Neil Wood and his Under-18s counterpart Neil Ryan to maintain a consistent coaching style of play throughout United’s youth ranks.
“Joining such a world-renowned academy system is an extremely proud moment and I cannot wait to get started in this new and exciting role,” he said upon the announcement. “From the first conversations, I could see the depth of top-level coaching talent that is already in place at the club.
“I look forward to working with each of them to provide the right environment for our players to thrive and to continue the phenomenal record of developing players for Manchester United’s first-team.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at The FA for their support over the last three years, working alongside such a dedicated group of staff is a period of my career that I will never forget. Working within the national team set up to develop future England internationals was an incredible experience, and I wish Gareth and his staff all the best for Euro 2020,” Cochrane told The Independent.
His appointment is the latest move in a significant restructuring drive happening behind the scenes at Old Trafford.
Cochrane’s departure from the England set-up leaves four of the seven head coaching jobs at the youth level vacant, with the Under-21s role the most high-profile.
Boothroyd stepped down as Under-21s manager in April following a group stage exit from the European Championships and ahead of his contract expiring this summer.