There was one departure from Manchester United this week as young talent Ben Hockenhull left to join Brentford.

Hockenhull, 18, will join Brentford’s B team. The Bees are renowned as having one of the most forward thinking youth set ups in the country.

His exit means one fewer young centre-back on United’s books. PA’s Simon Peach reported how Hockenhull had recently just signed a short-term deal at United due to the Covid situation, intimating he may have otherwise been released.

Manchester United v Derby County - Premier Leauge U18
(Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images)

As far as Brentford are concerned, they are thrilled to sign Hockenhull up.

Brentford B coach Neil Macfarlane told the club website: “Ben is coming from a top football club. He’s somebody that has fantastic presence on the pitch.

“As a centre back size is important in English football, but he’s got much more to his game than that. He’s fantastic on the ball and in possession, and with us being a possession-based team, that will stand him in good stead. We think there is lots more development in Ben and he will be a great addition to the squad.”

He has got it all to prove

Hockenhull was a regular for United’s under-18 side last season, making 14 appearances.


He also played twice in United’s FA Youth Cup run to the semi-finals, which is yet to be completed.

But as he was set to turn 19 in September, his development stands behind fellow 18-year-old Teden Mengi, who is already training with United’s first team.

His path in the under-23s was complicated by Will Fish, Dishon Bernard, Luca Ercolani and Oliver Denham so it made sense on United’s part to let him go.

Liverpool v Manchester United - U18 Premier League
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Like all young players who leave United, Hockenhull will be disappointed not to realise his dream, but his career is just getting started.

He will leave the club with a point to prove and try and make United regret the decision to let him go.

He has signed for a good club who will try to create a first team path for him. And if Brentford win in the Championship play-offs, he may be competing for a Premier League spot before he knows it.

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