Reserve team manager Warren Joyce recently spoke with Manchester United’s Scandinavian Supporters Branch about the burgeoning talent Mats Møller Dæhli.
The young midfielder was named as academy player of the year last season and has seen himself bumped up to the reserves at the tender age of 17. Joyce speaks on the developments that Dæhli has made this summer, his attitude as well as how he deals with training against the stars of the first team.
Thanks to @krissjohansen for the translation and @UnitedNO for allowing us to use the interview. The original interview can be read here on the Manchester United Supporters Club Scandinavian Branch website.
Norwegian Mats Møller Dæhli was seated on the bench during the entire game when the United reserves drew 1-1 away to Curzon Ashton wedensday night. That was as expected, as the Norwegian played an academy game against Stoke on Saturday. His presence on the bench on Wedensday was purely as a backup incase of injuries.
However, coach for the Reserves Warren Joyce is full of praise for the midfielder.
“His attitude has been first class. Everything he’s done this summer with the reserves has been first class. Even the physical. He has run most of the lads into the ground this summer. It has simply been a pleasure having him in the team.
“Talk about attitude and dedication. He knew he wasnt supposed to play against Curzon, but he still wanted to join. He’s just that eager and really wants to be a part of the team. He even did that right after he completed a good training session with the first-team earlier that day.
“He’ll do whatever it takes to succeed, you can say that he’s desperate for success which is a great thing.”
Dæhli transfered to United a year and a half ago, and was awared the academy player of the year in his first complete season. He was a focal point in a very young United team who managed to get to the semi finals in the prestigious FA Youth Cup. Many expected that he would have another team with the academy, but surprisingly enough he got the call up to the reserves – at the tender age of 17.
This is reason why he has chosen to take a break from playing with the national team, as it takes time and dedication to have success in United. As Dæhli said last year, the days mainly consist of training and rest. This is why he is doing everything to become the 6th Norwegian ever to play an official first-team match for Manchester United.
“There are certainly aspects he needs to work out, mainly in his positional play.
“It’s also about him playing against bigger men, who are able to stop you from playing your own game.
“This way he needs to learn when to beat a man and when pass the ball – at the same time as he is able to show off his technical attributes.”
The 17 year old will train with the reserves this year, but he will probably play for both the Academy and the u21s.
While most of us puts our focus on the matches, Joyce dont think that the matches are the most important for Mats.
“Mats is training with the reserves all the time now, and even the first team once in a while.
“I would say that his development gains more from these training-sessions than the games.
“This is because he’ll train with older and stronger players who are able to move the ball around quicker, which is why it’s important that he’s able to train with a high tempo every day.”
How does he perform in training against the first teamers?
“It’s more about technical exercises, like not giving the ball away or play on a smaller pitch. If he’s taking part in those sessions he’s got no problems what so ever. After all, he knows perfectly how to handle a ball.
“He’s an intelligent player and has performed very well against the first teamers in those sorts of training sessions.
“He’s doing well, but then again we know that football is played on bigger pitches, which is where he needs to make the right decisions and do the right things at the right time.”
How is he developing physically?
“His body can obviously be improved on, but he’s taking every bit of advice we give him into account.
“In terms of fitness, he has been having a great summer and making great strides.
“He never gives up, and stays on the training field until he simply cannot do any more. And that is pretty much everything he can do, which means that he’ll improve slightly every single day.
“But yeah, he can certainly improve physically.”
Joyce says that it’s still unknown what will happen with the best and more experienced reserve-players.
If players like Jesse Lingard, Larnell Cole and the like go out on loan, the road to reserve-team football will obviously become shorter for Dælhi. However the reserve coach underlines that opportunities will arrive at some time, as long as you perform:
“It’s all about quality. The best will get to play, no matter if they are 17 or 20.”