Manchester United have established a 79 year old record of including at least one academy graduate in the match day squad. Whilst impressive, this is doesn’t mean that everyone is a quality player – for every Paul Scholes, there is a Michael Stewart. This record is an important piece of history for The Red Devils and I hope to carry this legacy on.
Now – we all know about the current state of the Manchester United squad, and what the players look like ingame. However, I want to take this opportunity to look at the youngsters in the U23 and U18 squads that will be looking to make an appearance in the near future.
The U23 Squad
One or two of the players above may already be known to football fans in England. Timothy Fosu-Mensah is tipped to become one of the best midfield players in Europe over the next 10 years, and many Red Devils fans are also excited by the potential of centreback Axel Tuanzebe. Full back Sadiq El-Fitouri may also be a familiar name to those that have watched the Class of 92 documentary, as he is offered a place in the United academy my Phil Neville.
However, there are a number of exciting youngsters in this squad. Defender Ro-Shaun Williams played U21’s football at the age of 16, and broke his school’s 100m sprint record, clocking in at 10.99 seconds. Sean Goss was knocking on the door of the senior squad before being recently sold to QPR, and looks like he could develop in to a tidy replacement for Michael Carrick. A lot of fans are also excited by 17 year old midfielder Callum Gribbin, and for such a young age Gribbin has some excellent technical attributes.
The real concern in this squad, for me, is upfront. Whilst Zak Dearnley, Demetri Mitchell and Josh Doughty can all play upfront, none of them are an out and out striker. This is a void that has been left after the rise of Marcus Rashford to the first team squad. Goalscorers are like goldust, a rare breed of creature that is born to do one job. Whilst Rashford is the man I’m looking to for years to come, we will need more strikers to fill the squad out.
It’s also important to mention the players out on loan at the start of the save, with a number of well known names due to return next season. Adnan Januzaj, James Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Guillermo Varela, Joel Perreira and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson all will have a future at the club under my management, but for how long will remain to be seen.
The U18 Squad
The U18’s have a lot of promising talent too. To make up for a lack of strikers in the U23’s, I’ll be looking to develop Nishan Burkart. Arriving from FC Zurich, the 16 year old attracted a lot of attention from Europe’s elite, but chose to ply his trade at Old Trafford. The other stand out foreign talent is winger Tahith Chong. Possessing excellent skill at 16, Chong is known for this bit of skill.
This side is not without it’s homegrown talent, as there is a lot of buzz around Carrington about Angel Gomes. The 15 year old has snubbed Barcelona (apparently…) to stay at United. Watch out for him in the future.
That’s all for now. I’ll look to update on a monthly basis in game terms. Next up, I’ll be detailing how I want my United side to play, in keeping with the mentality of the club.