ANDY Whing says he has left Oxford United’s youth set-up now to improve his chances of returning one day as manager.

The former midfielder, who turns 33 today, this week resigned as joint manager of United’s under 18 side so he could take over the under 23 squad at Kidderminster Harriers.

It made complete sense on a personal level – Harriers are much closer to his family, which is due to expand later this week with the arrival of his third child.

But Whing is also dropping three divisions to the Vanarama National League North club so he can improve his chances of progressing professionally.

And the popular figure admits returning to the U’s one day would be a perfect outcome.

He said: “My ambitions are to become a manager one day and I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed as an under-18 coach.

“United have been absolutely brilliant to me and I owe them a lot.

“They said I’m welcome back any time – maybe one day, you never know.

“One of the reasons I have taken this opportunity is to get more experience to go back there one day in a managerial capacity.

“That’s the dream.

“I have a lot of faith and ambition that I will come back up.”

The departure ended more than six years with United, which has seen the final days of Whing’s playing career, followed by his first steps in coaching.

While his goal-of-the-season effort against Rochdale in 2013 was a highlight, the derby double against Swindon Town in 2011/12 stood out most of all.

He said: “The game at their place was the first one we had won there in so many years.

“The home game was a 12 o’clock kick-off and I can remember going out to look at the pitch at 10am and hearing the noise of the fans outside.

“The game itself (a 2-0 win) was amazing.”

But those moments on the pitch have been rivalled by the pride Whing has taken in seeing youth team graduates progress to the first team.

Canice Carroll has featured regularly in recent months, while Shandon Baptiste made his senior debut last month.

And he believes the conveyor belt of talent will continue.

He said: “They’re a really good group this year, the best team I’ve had.

“The club has moved on massively, especially the last two or three years.

“I really think they will go on and on.”