Manchester United already pushing next year's rising academy stars

Manchester United are blessed to have a lot of young talent coming through the academy right now.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said last week that Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri would be joining the first team training sessions on a regular basis, along with Amad Diallo.

It is always United’s philosophy to reward players for outstanding performances and keep pushing them.

This is how Shoretire got into the under-23s in the first place. He only turned 17 this past month and has been playing above his age group on a consistent basis.

This stance means players are starting to be pushed up to under-18s level from the under-16s, and we saw a bit of this at the weekend for the mini-derby against City.


Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Names to watch

The game provided a first ever under-18s start for attacking midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.

The 15-year-old was making his fourth under-18s appearance of the season. All previous three games had been as a substitute.

Mainoo played in the number 10 role behind Charlie McNeill, and was happy to drift wide, showing his quick footwork to win the corner which led to United’s opening goal.

Making his under-18s debut was England youth international Daniel Gore.

Gore, 16, replaced Mainoo for the final 24 minutes of the 4-2 victory.

There was a second substitute appearance for left-back Sam Murray. The 16-year-old came on at half-time to replace Bjorn Hardley, who had played over an hour for the under-23s the night before.

There were a couple of unused substitutes too. England youth international winger Sam Mather, 16, was on the bench for the first time.

Winger Max Oyedele, 16, was also an unused substitute and is another one who gained experience simply from being in the squad.

Promising, although bear in mind squad limitations

It absolutely has to be noted that United’s call-ups were partly to do with unavailability of several players.

Dillon Hoogewerf was suspended, while Mateo Mejia, Willy Kambwala and Omari Forson are out with injuries. Logan Pye, Alejandro Garnacho, Zidane Iqbal and Isak Hansen-Aaroen were also unavailable.

This prompted the call-ups, and yet, United could have re-adjusted tactically or brought down more players from the under-23s if the coaches did not feel they were ready.

Next season this crop of players will hope to feature more regularly for the under-18s, as some of the current players like Charlie McNeill step up to the under-23s. Getting an early taste of action now will serve them well, and United will continue to give chances to the most talented ones as their careers develop, as Solskjaer has shown.

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