Academy refs

Academy refs' PL experience

MCFA refs take to the Premier League

Six of Manchester FA's young guns have represented the county in Premier League regional qualifiers this week.

Split into two groups of three, the six MCFA referees were selected to officiate games involving Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa having especially impressed throughout the course of the season.

East Manchester Junior Football League duo Connor Slattery and Brad Sutcliffe were joined by Ben Wyatt of the City of Salford League (all three pictured) as they travelled to St George's Park for the Midlands qualifier last Wednesday.

Stoke, Swansea, West Brom and Wolves joined Villa in the Premier League Academy competition on a day that subjected the three officials to a brand of football that tested their skills in a completely different way to that of the grassroots game.

David Burton, Jonny Wyatt and Elliot Henderson were offered the same opportunity in the Northern qualifier at Manchester United's Carrington training ground.

Coached on the two days by both MCFA Referee Development Manager David Coote and Academy Director Chris Kavanagh, all six officials not only experienced a taste of the professional game but were offered the support and guidance of two fledgling Football League officials.

Connor Slattery believes the experience will have been invaluable to him and all five of his colleagues.

"To be offered the chance to come and referee at a tournament such as this is a fantastic opportunity," he explained.

"We spent the day refereeing young professionals, at a fantastic venue, while receiving advice from two of the most ambitious referees in the country and such an experience can only be beneficial to all of us.

"It was a great insight to what our future careers could have to offer if we worked hard enough. David and Chris were superb coaches throughout the day and offered each of us key development points that we can now use to improve our individual performances.

"I would like to thank Manchester FA and the Referees Academy for this opportunity."

Having only had three months in post to assess the promise and potential of MCFA's referees, RDM Coote believes the six officials epitomise the good work that continues to be done in developing Manchester's young talent.

"All six lads were a credit to Manchester FA," he said.

"Not only were their performances of the highest quality, but their professionalism and desire to learn reflected everything that is good about this county's current crop of young talent.

"The Academy emphasises how our role at MCFA is not only to find new referees who have the tools to 'get the job done' but is also to develop and support them all as they seek to climb the ladder.

"Congratulations to all six officials on their appointments."

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