Report: Ricky Sbragia to return to Man Utd as under-23s manager

Having left the club in 2005, Ricky Sbragia is set to return his job as Manchester United's under-23s manager, replacing Warren Joyce who departed for Wigan Athletic in November 2016.

It's been a long search for Nicky Butt, Head of Academy, and Man Utd, and reporters of both the Manchester Evening News and the BBC claim that Sbragia is the club's final choice.

Sbragia left the Scottish Football Association this year, having held managerial roles at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level.

Sbragia to replace Joyce

His relationship with Man United stretches back to 2002 when Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to the club. It's set to be continued according to reports on Monday.

Ex-Chelsea reserves boss Adi Vivesh, who left at the end of the 2016/17 season, as well as Paul Scholes and Phil Neville had previously been tipped to replace Joyce, recently appointed Melbourne City boss in Australia.

Sbragia was United reserves boss from 2002-05

Joyce was one of United's finest youth coaches, moulding players into characters who could stand the test of elite first team football as well as having great success in youth tournaments. His final season at the club, though it was only a few months, was difficult with no striker at all in the under-23s squad. Despite that, a number of his players made first team debuts in the final few Premier League games of the season.

It's a big task to take over from Joyce. Nicky Butt has been managing matches at under-23 level for Man United since Joyce left, while Tommy Martin has been conducting training. Butt never wanted to take on the job full-time, preferring to oversee the administrative and development side of things with the academy.

An appointment is likely to come soon, with United's reserves flying out to Austria on at the start of July for a pre-season training camp alongside Kieran McKenna's under-18s. After that, a number of friendlies will follow. Whether it's Sbragia or another individual, the under-23s managerial role is a huge one for United. It always has been, but particularly now with a fantastic under-18s group beginning to break their way into the higher age groups, a well-balanced and quality coach is required to oversee the final stages of their development before first team football.