Manchester United talent Habeeb Ogunneye provides assist on first under-18s start

Manchester United’s under-18s side were in action on Thursday lunchtime.

The young Red Devils took on Middlesbrough, who were the only team to beat Premier League North leaders Blackburn this season.

United were forced into making numerous changes, with several players away on international duty.

Sam Mather, who has 10 goal involvements this season, and Daniel Gore, who has four, were both away on England under-18s duty.

Alejandro Garnacho and Isak Hansen-Aaroen were among those who also missed out, while Joe Hugill, who scored a hat-trick for the side at the weekend, was not part of the squad.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

A chance for others to step up

Defender Sam Murray scored in the weekend win over Newcastle and he has now made it two from two.

Murray’s game began badly when he gave away a penalty in the opening five minutes.

At the other end he was on hand to score from close range after a cross from opposite wing-back Habeeb Ogunneye.

Ogunneye, 15, was making his first under-18s start. He had played twice previously as a substitute.

Striker Manni Norkett was also on the scoresheet from the penalty spot, scoring his sixth goal of the season.

It was Ogunneye who won the penalty with a driving diagonal run which saw him scythed down by a poorly timed challenge.

His attacking intent and ability to get on the ball inside the penalty area was a big asset to United going forward.

Middlesbrough netted a spectacular goal from the halfway line to go in at the break with a 3-2 lead, but having had a man sent off, they were braced for a second half onslaught from United.

Boro held out well in the second half before midfielder Kobbie Mainoo headed in a 81st minute equaliser from a Marc Jurado corner. This was just the 16-year-old’s second goal for the Red Devils.

Mainoo was excellent in the second half and has been thriving in a central midfield role in recent weeks. It was fitting for him to score the equaliser in a thrilling end to end game.

United brought on summer signing Ethan Ennis as a substitute for his second game of the season after an injury. He had a late chance from the edge of the box but was unable to grab a winner and the game ended 3-3.

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