TWO Manchester United starlets have joined Rochdale in a new type of “bespoke” loan deal.
United will have extra control on when winger Sam Mather and full-back Sam Murray can play for the National League promotion chasers.
Rochdale have hailed the “niche initiative” which lasts until the summer.
The duo, both 19, will continue their progress with the Red Devils’ academy while helping Dale’s bid for a quick return to the EFL.
Jimmy McNulty, boss of the fifth-tier club, told Rochdale’s website: “We’re delighted to welcome the two players into our squad.
“It’s a real bespoke loan experience that Manchester United have put together, to help their young stars benefit from experiencing first team football.
“With where we’re at numbers-wise, the two players will be a definite help to us, as much as we’ll be a help to them.
“We won’t have access to those players all of the time, that will be at United’s control, which it should be.
“Initiatives like these are really useful for clubs in situations like us, whereby we are extremely tight on numbers.”
Salford-born Mather and ex-Huddersfield kid Murray helped United win the 2022 FA Youth Cup.
And with Rochdale’s playing resources stretched, McNulty added: “Any niche initiatives from big clubs like this, can only be helpful to us.”
In all, five youngsters left Old Trafford on transfer deadline day.
The biggest move by far was Isak Hansen-Aarøen’s permanent switch to Werder Bremen.
Many United fans shared their surprise and frustration over losing the Norwegian attacker on social media.
Another 19-year-old, centre-back Sonny Aljofree, has been loaned to Rochdale’s league rivals Altrincham for the rest of the season.
And goalkeeper Tom Wooster, 18, had dipped down to the seventh tier, joining Robbie Savage’s Northern Premier League side Macclesfield in a “flexible” deal.
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