United poised for Milk Cup return

Manchester United are poised to make a return to the Milk Cup
Manchester United are poised to make a return to the Milk Cup

Manchester United could make a swift return to the Milk Cup despite their surprise absence from the 2015 event.

Tournament chairman Victor Leonard has revealed talks are ongoing over the possible tweaking of age groups to accommodate the English club giants.

United representatives will attend next month’s tournament, which begins on 26 July, with a meeting planned with senior club officials in September.

Leonard said: “there are issues but I’m very confident they can be ironed out”.

The Old Trafford club stunned tournament organisers last month by withdrawing from this year’s competition.

Leonard insisted there had been “no major disagreement” with the club,

“There is no issue with the quality of the tournament, but there are issues with the club regarding the knock-on effects of the age groups we get in at 18.

“Where those boys are being pushed into the Under-21s or senior section when the club this year will be touring America and other parts of the world, and players are being called into those panels.

“The club have asked me to say very little about what the future holds because they are going to talk to us about the possibility of where we go after this.

“Everything is on the table.”

Northern Ireland record goalscorer David Healy, who made the Milk Cup draw at the Odyssey in Belfast on Wednesday, said he could not understand why United had chosen not to send a team to the tournament this year.

“The reasons behind it, I don’t know, but I’m sure with the local interest, they would have loved to have seen a Man United team here.

“The public will be disappointed, and I know the organisers are disappointed, but the tournament is a big enough tournament now. It’s gone global.

“There are a lot of other teams now.”

2014 beaten finalists County Antrim will have a derby game against County Londonderry in the opening series of Junior games at this year’s Milk Cup.

County Fermanagh’s junior opponents include Sydney United and Rangers.

In the Premier competition, County Down will be up against last year’s beaten finalists, French side Vendee, who were beaten by Manchester United in last year’s Premier final.