Manchester United always have youngsters who are on the verge of a first-team breakthrough. Today, we outline the three with the best chance…
Credit where it’s due, from day one, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown a willingness to give youth a chance. He gets that from his old mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Marcus Rashford, Brandon Williams, Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood have all flourished under the Baby Faced Assassin’s tutelage over the last twelve months. The proof is in the pudding. Solskjaer makes young players better.
It’s quite fitting, then, that United’s youth system is the best in the country. This weekend, another season begins for the 20-time Premier League champions. But who can be their breakthrough stars this time around? We’ve pinpointed three…
Mengi made his debut at the back-end of last term. A centre-back, born in Manchester, aged just eighteen. After impressing at youth level, Mengi has now been given the squad #43 ahead of the upcoming campaign.
He’s a player whom Solskjaer wholeheartedly believes in. With Harry Maguire the only constant at the back for United, Mengi has an opportunity – provided no defensive signings are made.
Is he currently better than Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly? Probably not. Can he potentially be? Absolutely. First, he has to win the battle with Axel Tuanzebe, though he himself has struggled to keep fit over the last twelve months.
Mengi looked superb during United’s 6-0 demolition of Salford City in the EFL Cup just earlier this week. What a cracking start to a promising campaign for the young man.
Laird is quite possibly the player I’m the most excited about. By trade, he’s a right-back, who also made his debut last term. He’d play against Astana in the Europa League and perform with a maturity beyond his years.
With Diogo Dalot looking completely out-of-favour, there’s an opportunity there for Laird. Sure, Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be the regular starter, but Laird can force his way into the squad as back-up, make no mistake about it.
If he impresses out on the training field, I’d expect Laird to play in the cup competitions this season, while deputising Wan-Bissaka and being ready to play if ‘The Spider’ picks up an injury. There’s a reason he hasn’t been allowed to leave the club on loan.
Hannibal is probably the wildcard. Like Mengi, he looked outstanding against Salford City a week ago, scoring an absolute pearler to set the Reds on their way, before adding two assists.
He’s probably the most-talented youth player at the club right now. However, Hannibal likely needs another season to adapt and adjust to football at U23 level. His coaches have already said as much.
I’ve included him here because he’s just that good. If given an opportunity, even just for five minutes off the bench, Hannibal will impress everyone.
Of course, there are others. I’ve ruled out James Garner and Dylan Levitt, who’ll both presumably spend the season out on loan (Levitt’s has already been confirmed).
It just shows how good Manchester United are at allowing youngsters to breakthrough into the first-team. Long may it continue, too!