Hull KR academy boosted by Manchester United experience

If we can learn anything from the fact that only three teams have won a Super League Grand Final since 2006, it’s that academies are vital to the success of any Super League club.

St Helens, Leeds and Wigan have the three best academies in Super League and they’re the three teams to have won the title since 2006 and three of only four teams to do so in total alongside Bradford.

When you consider some of the names produced by the three academies, it’s no surprise they’ve been the dominant forces in Super League.

Paul Wellens, James Roby, Jonny Lomax, Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins and George Williams to name but a few.

So, it’s no surprise that Hull KR are putting a big focus on their academy and have turned to one of Britain’s all-time great academy setups to do so in Manchester United’s.

The Red Devils are famous for producing the class of 92 who carried them to unrivalled success at the start of the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson and continue to produce star players like Marcus Rashford.

To learn from them, Hull KR’s Alan Silvester and Tom Roberts visited Manchester United’s Carrington base to take a look at the 20-time Champions’ junior setup.

The visit was part of a larger vision for the Robins’ Academy to take successful aspects from junior setups in different respective sports and implement them into KR’s pathways.

Reflecting on the Hull KR website, Roberts said: “The biggest thing for me from an S&C view is how we manage our academy players.

“We realised through the visit that we manage them in very similar ways to Manchester United. The only main difference was adding in all the collisions and impact with how we develop and rehab our players.

“However, there’s not many differences between the processes and protocols that we have put in place to protect our players, and those put in place by Manchester United.”

Silvester meanwhile was encouraged by the similarities between Hull KR’s setup and Manchester United’s: “The facilities at Carrington were unbelievable and well equipped, Manchester United stressed managing the player as key to their success and we noticed a similar approach to ourselves regarding player welfare.

“Neil Hough (Manchester United’s Head of Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy) was intrigued with how we manage similar practices as a smaller team. Their department was impressed with how our S&C, physio staff and coaches all manage our Academy and scholarship players.

“For me, it was nice to know we’re fulfilling similar objectives and undergoing similar protocols to Manchester United while protecting our young players.”

You can read more about it here.

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