Amid all the talk about Manchester United potentially considering signing England’s top striker, it’s worth noting the club have a young player capable of emulating him too.

Charlie McNeill has a long way to reach the individual feats set by Harry Kane, but at the age of 17, he is on the right track.

McNeill has enjoyed a prolific season for Manchester United’s under-18s, in which he scored 25 goals in all competitions.

Manchester United v Middlesbrough: U18 Premier League
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

24 of those goals came in the under-18 league, where United finished second, missing out on the Northern division title by a single point.

The best way to measure McNeill’s accomplishments is to compare him to his peers.

Top young striker

McNeill’s 24 league goals is the highest in under-18s football in England in 2020/21. Here is a look how the players compare…

  • Charlie McNeill (Manchester United) 24 goals
  • Mika Bierith (Fulham) 21 goals
  • David Omilabu (Crystal Palace) 21 goals
  • Tai Sodje (Manchester City) 19 goals
  • Dane Scarlett (Tottenham) 17 goals

Just two of McNeill’s goals have been penalties, the joint fewest of all the top five players named above. Palace’s Omilabu has seven spot-kicks to his name.

McNeill also has six assists. That’s the second highest of all players named above, with the exception of Fulham’s Bierith who has 13.

 

United have another top performing forward in the ranks too, with Dillon Hoogewerf scoring 11 and assisting 12 goals.

Keep building

McNeill’s next task will be to take his top performances through to under-23 level.

He has two appearances for the under-23s, one as a starter, and was goalless in both outings. He will be challenged to step up next season.

Manchester United v Stoke City - U18 Premier League
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Young teammate Joe Hugill, also 17, was pushed up to under-23 level and netted 10 goals, after scoring six for the under-18s early in the season.

In his age range, McNeill is among the best, but he needs to produce the same kind of numbers at under-23 level before he is taken seriously as a first team option.

For now, United fans can be quietly encouraged that McNeill has a chance to be the next big thing.

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