JONATHAN GREENING declared he had "come home" after being appointed to the York City academy.

The former Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Fulham, West Brom and Nottingham Forest midfielder, began his career with the Minstermen before being poached by the Red Devils in 1998.

Greening, who joined the York youth system at the age of 15, has now returned to the Wigginton Road training ground and will be in charge of the club's 16 to 18-year-olds as, along with academy manager Andy McMillan and development consultant Richard Cresswell, the trio try to bring talented youngsters through to manager Russ Wilcox's first team.

"It's back to where it all began and I am looking forward to helping the young kids get better and trying to get some of them into the first team," Greening said. "I am taking over as youth team manager and helping Andy McMillan and Richard Cresswell to produce the next batch of good players.

"It will be the 16 to 18-year-old age group and focusing on their development and making them better players and better people. It's not just the football skills, it's the whole thing. I think that's why I made it in the game. I had a good youth team manager who instilled some good discipline into us all.

"It helped me become a better player."

The 35-year-old, who collected a Championship winners medal with West Bromwich Albion in 2008 and was also part of the Manchester United squad that won the Champions League in 1999 and the Middlesbrough outfit that won the Carling Cup five years later, added of his pivotal role: "It's a massive time for these players and two very important years. I have told the lads that you get one crack at it and you have got to give it 100 per cent.

"That's every day in training and in every game you play because you are always being watched - not just by us as a staff but by other coaches. They might watch a game and see a kid who might take their fancy.

"I think that's what happened with me when I was young. Manchester United watched a reserve game. I think I scored four against Sheffield United and the rest is history. I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into it."

Greening, who has finished playing for Northern Counties East League premier division leaders Tadcaster Albion, has his UEFA 'A' and 'B' coaching licences and helped to coach Nottingham Forest Under-21s last season.

On the experience that time with the Championship club gave him, he said: "I always wanted to stay in the game and have a crack at coaching and management. It's like playing - you have to start at the bottom and work your way up - so last year was a really good eye-opener for me.

"It was great working with Billy Davies and the first team, being involved in the meetings, and selection for the weekend and having an opinion was really good. Everyone has got different opinions on the game and, when you have a manager like Billy who has been there and done that, for him to ask my opinion meant a lot.

"He might not have taken it every time but we had some really good meetings about formations, players, who should play and who shouldn't, and it was a really interesting part of the game that players don't really see.

"I am very happy that this opportunity has arisen and that Macca and Crezzie have given me a chance to get on the ladder and get some more experience. I have come home.

"With a club legend like Macca and Crezzie, who I was in the youth team with, it's a really nice feeling to be back. I am looking forward to trying to help the kids and help Macca produce some young players."

McMillan added: "It's fantastic - a really good opportunity - for the kids, for the club and for the academy to have someone like Jonno and Crezzie here - people who have been there and seen it. It's an amazing opportunity for them.

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"He had offers from other places but, when he knew there was something here for him, it was fantastic that he wanted to take it. We are trying to build something within the academy and within the club and it is getting the right players through and the right characters.

"It's great to get Jonno and Crezzie in front of them and say 'this is what you need to do to be able to get to the next level'.

It might be Conference, it might be Premier League. As long as we can give the kids the best opportunity to be the best players they can possibly be, we are giving them the chance with people like Jonno there."