It was a quiet summer of recruitment for Manchester United’s academy teams. Brexit regulations have removed the option of snapping up young talent from abroad.

United made just one swoop at under-18s level, snapping up goalkeeper Elyh Harrison from Stevenage.

Already the signs look good, with United’s dealing a case of quality over quantity.

Harrison started in goal for United in the FA Youth Cup third round win over Crystal Palace, and played a crucial role in the team’s victory.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United: FA Youth Cup
Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images

Elyh Harrison praised after win

Elyh Harrison’s selection to start such an important match in goal was in itself, testament to the strong early impression he has made since joining the club, chosen ahead of Eric Hanbury and Tom Wooster, with Radek Vitek stepping up a level.

He helped United to a 3-1 win in freezing conditions at Selhurst Park, making a string of saves and also being confident enough to come out and claim crosses.

It took an excellent goal from Palace in the second half to beat him, but he was equal to everything else; with United winning through goals from Maxi Oyedele, Manni Norkett and Sam Mather.

He had a key role in United’s second goal, saving an effort from point blank range, springing a counter attack involving a superb Ethan Williams assist to set Norkett up.

Speaking to MUTV after the game, under-18s boss Travis Binnion picked Harrison out for praise, and said the goal was one they had been working on.

Binnion said: “The second goal came from the Harrison save, I thought he was outstanding. Then the intelligence to find that pass.

“We thought we could catch them out in those moments and then to execute that, was brilliant.”

Still only 16, Elyh Harrison played like a veteran, and it was hard not to be very impressed by his performance.

Even in injury time he made a fantastic diving save to prevent a Palace consolation, and celebrated with his teammates, similar to the high-fiving Lisandro Martinez has introduced to the first team’s backline.

This young team will fancy their chances of going back to back to win the FA Youth Cup again, and face either Stoke or Blackpool next round.

In addition to earning the praise of his coach, Harrison clearly has the respect of his teammates, who praised his performance on social media.

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