Manchester United’s academy teams are hitting their stride right now.
The under-18s have won four games in a row while the under-23s recorded their third consecutive win.
Anthony Elanga has inspired the under-23 win streak, netting three goals in his last three.
What his role in the under-23s has meant was that Joe Hugill was able to drop down to the under-18s at the weekend.
Hugill has yet to score in the league for the 23s this season, despite netting 10 times last campaign.
He did get on the scoresheet in the EFL Trophy win over Bradford City a week ago, which was encouraging.
Now Hugill’s return to form is complete thanks to a terrific hat-trick for the under-18s.
Hugill fired in a hat-trick in a 5-0 under-18s victory over Newcastle. As a former Sunderland academy striker, this one will have been special for him.
Still 17, Hugill is eligible to play for the 18s for the rest of this season if United want him to, which is a scary proposition for defenders.
United promoted him quickly last season due to a strike shortage in the 23s, and also because he was too good for this level.
He scored six goals in five games last season for the under-18s, and his hat-trick now makes it nine goals in six matches.
If United keep him in the under-18s then his goal record could be quite astonishing by the end of the season.
What is more likely though, is this hat-trick acts as a springboard for Hugill to go back into the under-23s.
When January comes around it seems likely that Elanga could head out on loan, due to the lack of first team minutes currently available, and Hugill could be entrusted the lead the line.
His hat-trick showed the strength in depth United have up front in the academy. Charlie McNeill was not in action for either side this weekend due to injury.
This hat-trick will do Hugill the world of good and with four goals in all competitions this season now, he will fancy his chances of bettering last season’s tally of 16.
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