Manchester United’s academy is bursting at the seams right now with talented prospects.

Some of these like Dylan Levitt and Ethan Laird will be pushing for loans, while Teden Mengi and Hannibal Mejbri could even be fast tracked to the first team.

The academy season has come to an end and a big year lies ahead in getting these talented young footballers back up to speed.

Leaving aside the obvious names mentioned above, here is a look at five young players who we are backing to take a big step forward in their development over the next 12 months.

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Zidan Iqbal

Exciting young midfielder Zidan Iqbal made the step up from the under-16s to the under-18s this past season.

He has only played twice, and scored in one of them, the March victory over Sunderland.

He is poised for a big breakout next season and will likely play more regularly if Mejbri as expected plays more with the under-23s.

With more game time, we will get a closer look at what the attacking midfielder is capable of.

Mateo Mejia

United signed Mejia from Real Zaragoza last year, but he has had a frustrating start.

Paperwork meant his deal did not go through until October, and then he picked up an injury.

When he dropped into the under-16s for some game time, he scored four goals in a single match.

The young striker will be desperate to show what he can do, and if he can stay fit, 2020/21 could be a big year.


He scored 50 goals in one year at youth level for Zaragoza; there’s clearly a talented player here who just needs the opportunity to shine.

(Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

Shola Shoretire

Shoretire has been marked out as a player to watch since 2018 when Nicky Butt made him United’s youngest ever player in the UEFA Youth League.

The tricky winger is still only 16 yet he has already made an impact at under-18 level, providing three assists this past season.

He has been a regular for United in the FA Youth Cup and next season he will get even more chances to show what he can do.

The sky is the limit for this young lad; he will be helped if he has a growth spurt, so he does not get held back in a similar way to Angel Gomes at first team level.

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Will Fish

Overshadowed by Teden Mengi, Will Fish should not be forgotten about.

The young centre-back made his under-23 debut at just 16 and he signed a professional contract earlier in 2020.

Fish is a composed defender who is good with the ball at his feet and strong in the air and he could forge a strong partnership with Mengi.

It will be fascinating to see if he can keep pace with the under-18s captain and get more under-23 appearances under his belt.

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Anthony Elanga

This could be a huge upcoming year for Elanga. The Sweden youth international has been a driving force of the under-18 team’s success.

He has scored seven goals and provided three assists in nine games, and now is the time to step up, having recently just turned 18.

United have given him minutes at under-23 level this past season, although he has not had quite the same impact.

Next season he will be expected to rise to the challenge of being a regular starter at under-23 level, and influencing games. If he can do that, a pathway to the first team could open up.

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