Along with midfielder Hannibal Mejbri, Dillon Hoogewerf was one of United’s most exciting academy additions in 2019.
Hoogewerf scored three goals in three FA Youth Cup games before picking up an injury and then seeing his season curtailed by lockdown.
This past summer has seen its own set of challenges present itself to Hoogewerf, who quit Ajax to join United.
United signed strikers Joe Hugill, Charlie McNeill, and Alejandro Garnacho, who have all intensified competition for places. Mateo Mejia was also in the mix before he picked up another injury.
Hugill made a big early impression and has stepped up to the under-23s already.
Hoogewerf was at risk of being overshadowed, and this was demonstrated in the team selections.
The 17-year-old was picked as a starter in just three of the opening seven games, and frustratingly, failed to score.
However there were some positives, with Hoogewerf playing a more withdrawn role, and providing three assists in these games.
Now he is back amongst the goals
Hoogewerf scored a winner against Stoke a week ago and at the weekend he netted a hat-trick against Newcastle. All of his goals came from open play.
The young Dutchman is an instinctive striker who likes to shoot on sight, and is often able to shoot first time and get his shot on target without needing to take a touch.
His four goals are now level with Joe Hugill for the under-18s, and take him ahead of both Garnacho and McNeill, who separately have scored for the under-17 side or in friendly matches.
This is what United wanted to see. Just like at first team level, there will be new challenges for strikers every single year and extra competition for places.
It is not just about having the talent, you need to possess the mentality to compete and come back better.
This early start to the season was a challenge to see how he would respond, and he has passed it now with flying colours.
Hoogewerf has shown he is up for the battle and with four goals and three assists from seven appearances, he is now averaging a goal contribution every single game.
Now he is in the groove, Hoogewerf needs to continue this good form and potentially earn a call-up to the under-23s.
Manchester United under-18 top scorers 2020/21
- Charlie McNeill
- Dillon Hoogewerf
- Alejandro Garnacho
- Joe Hugill
- Zidane Iqbal
- Noam Emeran
- Omari Forson
- Charlie Savage
- Isak Hansen-Aaroen
- Charlie Wellens
- Alvaro Fernandez Carreras
- Mateo Mejia
- Martin Svidersky
- Daniel Gore
- Will Fish
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- Manchester United’s top under-23s scorers and assist leaders for 2021/22
- Manchester United’s top under-18s scorers and assist leaders for 2021/22