Three players released by United who have bounced back from further setbacks
Manchester United can’t keep everybody, and last summer as many as 13 young players were cut.
Every player has a story to tell as they look to rebuild their careers and navigate a way back to the very top.
We have taken a look at three who still have high potential, who have suffered setbacks early in 2019/20, only to bounce back.
All three of them can be miffed with the timing of the football break.
United signed Willock from Arsenal in 2017 and he played for the under-23 side before going out on two loan spells.
He was signed quickly by Gillingham last summer, becoming one of the first players to find a club of the 13 United released.
Manager Steve Evans told the club website: “He is destined for greater things and we’ve beaten off some very significant interest from Championship clubs.
“He is nothing short of an outstanding talent. During my brief time as manager, this is the signing that excites me the most given his ability, stature, strength and unbelievable reference from United legend Nicky Butt.”
Willock has not kicked on as Evans has hoped. A pre-season hamstring injury meant he didn’t make his debut until the end of August.
Then he played just 45 minutes before suffering a fractured knee.
He made his return as a substitute in January but did not start a game until February.
In total Willock has made eight appearances, but is yet to play 90 minutes.
He was trending in the right direction before the season was paused. The break may do him good as he looks to regain full fitness.
United beat competition from clubs across Europe to clinch Millen Baars’ signature in 2017 from Ajax.
He impressed for the under-18s and then scored for United in the UEFA Youth League, but could not do enough in 2018/19 to sign a new contract.
Over the ensuing months, Baars found it tough to find a new club.
It took until February in fact, when he joined Dutch side AZ Alkmaar after a successful trial, and he has gone into their under-21 set up.
So it was a blow having just signed with a new team, to see the season suspended.
His contract was only until the end of June, and now he faces an uncertain wait to see if he will be kept on.
Football Oranje report Dutch football may be suspended until September.
Of the three players featured here, Zak Dearnley has had the most success, but it did not come easy.
He was considered by Turkish side Bursaspor last summer and then on trial Rotherham United, before suffering an injury which cost him a move.
Dearnley had to drop into non-league to get fit, before signing a deal with Oldham Athletic in January, where Paul Scholes signed him on loan last year in his ill-fated managerial spell.
The 21-year-old has established himself as a starter and has scored four goals in eight games.
His form saw him nominated for the League Two fans player of the month award for February.
To get into a team and establish himself is great going for Dearnley, after such a tough start to the campaign which will have left him wondering if circumstances would deny him a chance in professional football.
So then to see the season halted suddenly after finally hitting form is a cruel blow, and one Manchester United know a lot about too right now.
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