Manchester United under-18s reach Premier League Cup quarter-finals

Manchester United’s under-18s have reached the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup despite a defeat to West Brom.

West Brom scored two second half goals to win 2-0 against a lacklustre United side to end the group stages.

Yet due to a superior goal difference, United have still qualified for the next round.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Two debutants

16-year-old defender Marcus Lawrence made his debut at under-18 level and played well, keeping a clean sheet during his time on the pitch. He featured at right-back and tried to get forward as often as possible to provide an outlet in attack.

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He was joined by midfielder Ruben Curley, also stepping up from the under-16s to make his first ever competitive under-18s appearance.

Photo by Manchester United/2021 Manchester United FC

Both players featured for an hour before being substituted at 0-0 as United made changes to push and try and secure the win, although West Brom took the lead five minutes later.

With United’s place in the next round pretty much assured ahead of the game, there was a little more leeway to rotate.

Goalkeeper Tom Wooster was making just his second ever under-18s appearance since his move from Barnsley last season, having made his debut at the weekend in the 4-2 league victory over Everton.

Wooster made a key save late on to stop West Brom adding a third. Omari Forson and Alejandro Garnacho were bright after coming off the bench in the second half but United could not get on the scoresheet.

The Premier League Cup

This game took place at the third time of asking after twice being re-arranged due to a waterlogged and then frozen pitch.

United are now into the under-18s Premier League Cup quarter-finals after finishing top of the group.

The Red Devils had been dominant heading into this game, scoring 12 goals in two matches, an 8-2 win against Birmingham City and 4-2 against Wolves. This gave United an unassailable goal difference and the 2-0 defeat did not ultimately matter.

The tournament is an alternative to the FA Youth Cup, operating with a group stage before moving to the last eight, and has been running since 2012/13. United have never won it.

The date for the quarter-finals is yet to be set, while separately United will play the FA Youth Cup fifth round tie with Everton on February 9 at Old Trafford.

United under-23s victorious in friendly

This re-arranged fixture gave United’s under-18s a fixture to play during the international break. The under-23s had meanwhile played a friendly match against Rangers.

United won this game 2-1 earlier this week with Ethan Ennis and Alejandro Garnacho scoring the goals.

Ennis started the PL Cup game against West Brom for the 18s before being replaced by Garnacho for the final 25 minutes.

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