Manchester United Academy – Five Players to Watch

By on March 30, 2011

I have always taken a keen interest in the youth of Manchester United. It wouldn’t be unfair to state that no one has really made the breakthrough since the class of 1993.

Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck have both acquitted themselves fantastically this season in the Premier League, but with the greatest of respects, playing for Wigan/Sunderland is a whole different ball game to playing for Manchester United. That said, they will return to United next season as better players and will aim to prove they are worthy of a first team place. There have been many who have impressed in the youth team in recent years; Craig Cathcart, Sam Hewson and Fabian Brandy to name a few, but unfortunately they have not been able to make that all important step up.

With the influx of foreign talent into the game, it is becoming increasingly difficult for youngsters to make that step into the first team. But this Manchester United youth team is the best I have seen in recent years. Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand have both been recently quoted as saying they believe this youth team is an extremely powerful one. There is absolutely no doubt that they are all talented boys, but here are 5 players that I believe have what it takes.

Ravel Morrison – Age 18

It is no secret that Sir Alex Ferguson rates this boy extremely highly. He is a supremely gifted talent who can play on either wing, or off the main striker. His ability and skill on the ball is exceptional and has scored goals for fun in the youth team and the reserves. His performance in the youth cup this week put him firmly in the frame for the Crawley Town match, although he didn’t make the bench, There is, however, a genuine concern that his off-field behaviour may harm his chances in the first team. If this can be eradicated, he will be some player.

Ryan Tunnicliffe – Age 18

His build and style of play reminds me of Sam Hewson (an ex youth player now at Altrincham). But he has much more about him. He has got bounds of energy and is a real warrior in the centre of the park. His attitude is absolutely spot on, which supplements his natural footballing ability. He is a real box to box player and I believe he regularly features at the top of the list of ground covered during a game. He is definitely one to watch.

Paul Pogba – Age 17

Pogba joined the Reds from his previous club, French Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre, in a much publicized move in 2009. He is one of the most sought after youngsters in the world. He is an extremely powerful central midfielder standing at over 6ft 2, he has drawn comparisons to Patrick Vieira for his long strides and stature on the park. But don’t be fooled, he isn’t a midfield blocker; he has scored some wonderful goals recently (one can be seen here) and also has an extensive range of passing and a maturity that defies his tender years. Extremely gifted on the ball and supremely powerful off it, he is firmly in the thoughts of Sir Alex for the future.

John Cofie – Age 18

At the age of 14, he had a number of top clubs chasing his signature; but he chose to join United from Burnley and hasn’t looked back since. An extremely powerful centre forward with lightening pace, his mere presence alone is enough to unsettle defenders. He wasn’t the best finisher when he joined the club, but it is clearly something he has worked on since his time at the club, along with the quickness of his feet. He is improving all the time and has every chance of making it.

William Keane – Age 18

Perhaps not as physically gifted as some of the other players in this list, but he combines a deceptive finishing ability with exceptional vision and the ability to execute a killer pass. He is an extremely accomplished finisher and seems to possess a very good football brain. Last season he picked up the young player of the year award at the end of season ceremony and has carried his fine form into this season.

It is exceptionally difficult to make that step up to first team life at Manchester United; it takes a special sort of player, and person. But with the right attitude, each of the above certainly has a chance.

Submitted by Everything Football

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2 Comments

  1. john

    March 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    pogba, morrison and tunnicliffe should defentaly be in the first team next season

  2. Kyle Duncan

    August 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Some decent talent in the youth squad these days. Always keep up to date with the development through MUTV. If these kids carry on the future is very bright. It’s a world of difference to when Scholes and co broke through though.

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