Young strike duo Joe Hugill and Charlie McNeill netted a combined 41 goals for Manchester United’s academy teams last season. And now another talented young forward is rising through the ranks to add his name to the mix.

Last month United announced 16-year-old centre-forward Manni Norkett has been promoted to the under-18s squad.

Norkett has settled in quickly. He scored in a recent 3-0 friendly win over Hearts’ under-18s during a pre-season training camp in Scotland.

Norkett is getting to know his new teammates. His recent Instagram post above had replies from academy regulars Marc Jurado, Alvaro Fernandez, and Alejandro Garnacho, each offering their words of encouragement.

When the under-18 season kicks off on August 14, Norkett will be part of the matchday squad. He could even be a starter, dependent on whether Charlie McNeill is promoted to the under-23s. That is an inevitability, it is just a question of whether it happens right away.

So who is Manni Norkett?

Norkett was signed for Manchester United’s academy in 2018 amid plenty of competition.

The teenager hails from a village named North Muskham in Nottinghamshire and he was 13 when United snapped him up.

Norkett turned down offers from 15 other clubs including Wolves and Everton, the Newark Advertiser reported at the time.

At a younger age Norkett had spent with with Manchester City and Sheffield United’s academies. But it was United which made the biggest impression and believed in him the most.

Norkett told the paper: “I wanted to sign for Manchester United because I think they will suit my style of play more than other teams.

“I like to run and play with a bit more freedom going forward. Football is just football for me and I love everything about it, but I like to score as many goals as I can.”

Since then Norkett has been working his way up through United’s youth system, featuring for the under-16s last season, and now he will get the chance to test himself at under-18 level.

It may take a little adjustment, or he could hit the ground running and make an instant impact like McNeill. One way or another, Norkett will score goals, and he will be a name to watch over the course of the 2021/22 season at academy level.

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