How Manchester United are helping Paul Woolston after his retirement

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How Manchester United are helping Paul Woolston cope after his heartbreaking retirement aged 23: Advice from Harry Maguire, tutoring on financial planning and property development, coaching in the US and a private tour of Old Trafford

  • Manchester United have offered huge support to ex-goalkeeper Paul Woolston 
  • Woolston was forced to retire at just 23 because of significant injury problems
  • United have given Woolston specific training and education to help him transition out of football
  • Club captain Harry Maguire had a sit-down with Woolston to offer his advice
  • Several other players including David de Gea have also spoken with Woolston
  • United are continuing to support Woolston as he studies for coaching badges 

His playing days may be numbered but former Manchester United U23 goalkeeper Paul Woolston continues to receive huge support from his club following his tragic enforced retirement.

The 23-year-old announced the end of his fledgling career last week following severe injury problems and those at Old Trafford have rallied around Woolston to ensure he is prepared for life after football.

This has included support to complete coaching badges, a sit-down with club captain Harry Maguire and even a private tour of Old Trafford, according to the MEN. 

Man United's Paul Woolston has been forced into early retirement at the age of only 23

Man United’s Paul Woolston has been forced into early retirement at the age of only 23

The tragic news has not stopped United offering Woolston huge support for life after football

The tragic news has not stopped United offering Woolston huge support for life after football

Woolston – who went under the knife twice in two months in March and April last year – made 19 Premier League 2 appearances for the reserves after joining the club on a free transfer in 2018, having left their Newcastle counterparts. 

But despite a ‘significant determination to return to fitness’, according to a United statement, Woolston made the call to hang up his boots, saying the decision was ‘really tough to come to terms with’.

The Red Devils made their intention to aid Woolston clear by giving him a one-year contract extension so he could try to complete his rehabilitation at the club, making use of its resources and support systems.

The shot stopper went under the knife twice in two months in March and April last year

The shot stopper went under the knife twice in two months in March and April last year

Club captain Harry Maguire met with Woolston the same day he retired to offer some advice

Club captain Harry Maguire met with Woolston the same day he retired to offer some advice

Following his retirement announcement, Woolston was immediately sought out by Maguire the same day. The pair reportedly spoke for half an hour, with the United captain offering Woolston his experience and advice on various options ahead.

United No 1 David de Gea was one of the first players to speak out in support of Woolston, and also revealed he has talked with the young goalkeeper about his future.

‘It’s always bad when someone has to retire at a young age,’ De Gea said. ‘I’ve spoken with him, the other day, and said to him that the most important thing is life, more than football, in terms of a proper life.

Woolston (left) has been given education on financial planning and mentoring sessions with first-team players

Woolston (left) has been given education on financial planning and mentoring sessions with first-team players

But the likes of David de Gea (centre) have rallied around him following his early retirement

But the likes of David de Gea (centre) have rallied around him following his early retirement

‘It was sad. I have been training with him, when he was fit, and it’s very sad news. I wish him all the best. He’s a great lad, a great goalkeeper and we all feel really sorry for him.’ 

Alongside rehab, United provided Woolston with a bespoke training programme to help his transition out of playing football. 

This included financial planning and property development education, mental health support and mentoring sessions with first-team players and staff. 

Woolston was also offered work experience at the club, including support to complete his coaching badges if he chooses to stay in the game. MEN reports that Woolston will travel with a youth United team to a competition in the US to learn further and develop his coaching skills.

Manchester United goalkeepers posed with Paul Woolston after he announced his retirement

Manchester United goalkeepers posed with Paul Woolston after he announced his retirement

To ensure Woolston remembers his time at United fondly, academy head Nick Cox arranged a private tour of Old Trafford for the young goalkeeper’s family.

This is in addition to a touching photograph of Woolston with all the United goalkeepers, including De Gea and Dean Henderson, taken the day after the youngster announced he had been forced to retire.

Henderson also spoke publicly about his sadness for Woolston, saying it was ‘devastating’ news. 

While heartbreaking that his dreams are over, it is clear Woolston will not be forgotten by Manchester United and that they could even be instrumental in the former football’s future, whether that is in or out of the game.  

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