Manchester United's academy chief Nick Cox has explained how the club's U23s side has changed from previous generations.
Anthony Elanga emerged from the academy this season as a bonafide first-team player, amassing 26 appearances across all competitions.
And Cox says the U23s are no longer a reserve side but used solely to propel youngsters into senior football.
"The 23s is really different from what it used to be. It's not the reserves, it doesn't look like that anymore," he said.
"It's [no longer] that mixture of senior players and young players. It's the finishing school for the Academy really. It's the final stage of your development before you either go and join the first-team squad, which is what Anthony Elanga has done, or before you go out on loan and later come back, which is hopefully the journey that James Garner is on.
"They had a wonderful run in the UEFA Youth League - the Champions League equivalent for the Under-19s - earlier in the season, where we went out to [Borussia] Dortmund, but that game was very much what we were talking about. It was showing them European opposition, floodlights, and crowds. I think that was a really important experience for the group as well."
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