Man United appoint Tom Huddlestone as academy coach

Manchester United have appointed former England midfielder Tom Huddlestone as an academy coach.

The 35-year-old, who left Hull City at the end of the season, will take on the role previously held by Paul McShane.

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Huddlestone will be available as an over-age player for the Under-21s but sources have told ESPN it is predominantly a coaching appointment. It is anticipated that he will play fewer than the five competitive games McShane featured in last season.

Huddlestone is viewed as the perfect role model for United's young players having been capped by England and played close to 250 Premier League games for Tottenham and Hull. He has also had spells at Derby and Wolves.

Meanwhile, United goalkeeper Tom Heaton is targeting more match action this season after playing just one game last season following his return to Old Trafford from Burnley.

Heaton was behind David De Gea and Dean Henderson in the pecking order but the 36-year-old is now No. 2 after Henderson sealed a loan move to Nottingham Forest.

"I would hope [to play more] but I've been in football long enough to know that you never know," Heaton said. "From my point of view I'll try to be internally focused and maximise everything I can do and you never know.

"It didn't quite work out last year but we start again fresh this season and I'll be competing every day to try to get into the team. That won't change for me.

"Last season was frustrating, I can't lie. It was a tough season, working all week and then David and Deano were there with David doing most of the playing and Dean sat on the bench. I was on the bench 20 or 25 times but there's no substitute for playing. I found that out a little bit last year. It's part and parcel of football and you have to deal with it the best you can but I can't lie and say it wasn't frustrating."

After United's preseason schedule came to an end with a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, Erik ten Hag is into his final week of preparations before the Premier League season kicks off with a game against Brighton at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Last season ended five five defeats from the final eight games under interim boss Ralf Rangnick but Heaton insists he's already seen positive signs with Ten Hag at the helm.

"On the back of last season it was difficult," he added. "The situation we found ourselves in, it spiralled a little bit. It wasn't for the want of trying but a new manager coming in with fresh ideas, it's brought a fresh energy to the whole club. It's been a solid improvement so far."