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Wood happy leaving Man Utd academy for Salford manager's job

Salford City boss Neil Wood was happy to make the move from Manchester United's academy.

Wood took charge of Salford this season.

"I think the time was right. I'd had a good few years with the 23s at United, we managed to get quite a few players through to make their debut, the 23s were playing good football at times," said Wood to the Manchester Evening News.

"[But] I wanted to test myself, the opportunity was right, the right club, right timing, right location. Part of me wanted to see if what I'd been doing over the last four years was possible to do at a league club and get success from it.

"I really enjoyed my time at United, I enjoyed working with the young players there and it isn't something I'd rule out for the future, but at some point, I think most people want to see what it is like on the other side."

Wood had the advantage of having some connections with Salford City's owners, particularly Nicky Butt, who had seen his work up close when Butt was head of the academy at United, before becoming head of first-team development.

Now he is in position, that contact remains regular. Butt, who recently replaced Gary Neville as chief executive at the club, and Ryan Giggs, are in daily to catch up with Wood, while Paul Scholes has a hands-on role with recruitment, alongside director of football Chris Casper.

It's an impressive model for a fourth-tier club, but on the pitch, Wood has occasionally had to remind himself of the shift in focus compared to his previous job.

"Coming through the academy you're looking at performance first, you can get beat and it can be a successful game because what you've been working on or what you've been trying to improve a player on has happened," he explains.

"For me there is still that element of it, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I want to play well and win. It's been hard sometimes for me to enjoy it when we've won and the performance hasn't been as good as I expected."



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