Manchester United U23 boss Neil Wood has been appointed as first-team manager at Salford City.
Salford, who are famously owned by members of Manchester United’s class of 92, are said to have looked for a United link when appointing their new boss. Michael Appleton would have been an obvious candidate having recently left Lincoln City, but the Ammies have opted to give Neil Wood his first crack at senior football management.
Wood has been in charge of United’s U23s since July 2019.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) July 4, 2019
Salford City Hire Manchester United U23 Boss Neil Wood as Manager
— Salford City FC (@SalfordCityFC) May 20, 2022
What He Said
Upon his appointment as Salford City manager, Neil Wood told the club website: “I’m very excited for the challenge, I think it’s going to be really good going forward, it’s going to be a new challenge for me but one that I’m looking forward to.
“I’ve spent a lot of years coaching, I’ve been a head coach for the last three years at Manchester United and this was naturally my next progression so it’s an exciting time.
“I’ve had a great time (at Manchester United), some amazing players came through and it’s been a really proud time for me to see young players develop and improve, and go on to make their debut for the first team at Manchester United or move on and play the leagues.
“Most people will say I like to attack, I think my type of team is attacking teams. I like to improve players, I like to improve the team, and I think they’ll say they’re organised and hard to beat so all the things that you’d want somebody to say about your team.
“We have to create a culture of everyone pulling in the right direction, I think that’s one of the main things for the club, the staff, the players, and the fans play such an important role in that as well.
“We want to create a team, a club, that they’re proud of, that they want to come and watch, and we want to create a team that’s entertaining for them to come and watch.”
Salford City have highlighted how Wood matches their ambitions, working with young players and thanked Manchester United for giving them the opportunity to speak to Wood and the speed at which they allowed his appointment to be made.
Manchester United have stated they will announce a successor to Neil Wood as U23s boss in due course.
Wood’s First Senior Managerial Job
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The 39-year-old coach is Manchester-born and bred. He started his playing career at Manchester United, though failed to make a senior appearance. During his time at the Theatre of Dreams, he had loans with Antwerp, Peterborough United, Burnley, Coventry City and Blackpool before joining the Seasiders permanently.
Gary Neville has regularly criticised football clubs for a lack of patience when it comes to football managers, however, has no track record of exercising such in his own capacity as an owner.
Richie Wellens was given just months – and sacked days after lifting the EFL Trophy. Gary Bowyer lasted just over a year and hadn’t disgraced himself before being dismissed.
Salford City are seeking a quick fix for promotion and see this as the way to go about it.
Wood is a curious appointment with no first-team managerial experience to his name. He has done a decent job with Manchester United’s U23s but leading a League Two side, demanding promotion, will be a completely different kettle of fish.
Wood is another exit for United in recent days after his assistant, Neil Ryan, left the club for a role within The FA.