In Dylan Levitt, Manchester United have a player who offers something quite different to the club’s first-team regulars. His range of passing and composure in the centre of midfield on a cold night in Astana, Kazakhstan was impressive.
It was not a debut that will force Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to immediately bring Levitt into the first-team fold. It wasn’t a debut reminiscent of Macheda, Januzaj or Rashford good. In Kazakhstan, could it ever really be? But Levitt impressed.
Solid debut from Levitt against Astana
The young Welshman has waited some time for this first-team chance. He’s been a part of senior Wales squads under the tutelage of United great Ryan Giggs. In the under-18s and under-23s, he’s consistently run games and been a key part of United’s attacks.
Levitt moves the ball quickly and kept the tempo up for United. Though the Reds eventually lost and much of the second half was disappointing, the positive performance in the first half shouldn’t be forgotten.
Levitt played a key part in that. 67 of his 104 passes on the evening were forward, more than anyone else. It’s not just quickly that Levitt moves the ball, but with quality, too.
Levitt moves ball forward quickly
He and Garner, who first played together at one of United’s development centres before the age of 10, both play through the lines. The same can only sometimes be said for United’s current first-team midfield pairing of Fred and Andreas Pereira.
It was only Astana, though United’s first team did only secure a one-goal victory in the home fixture. But Levitt and Garner were composed on the ball and played naturally in midfield. Others who were given a chance, namely Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong, can’t quite yet replicate their best youth performances in the first team. But Levitt isn’t nervous in any team.
He uses both feet, keeps the ball and gets it forward quickly. That’s because he’s constantly checking over his shoulder to see where the space is. In a pivot with Garner, which many – including some coaches at United – hope will be a future United starting midfield, Levitt controls the game.
His first touch is good and he moves well. The task now, after a quiet second half, is to influence the whole of games and cope with the pace of the Premier League.
Another start is likely when United host AZ Alkmaar in their final Europa League group stage game. With the weakness of United’s midfield, the space in the team is there to be penetrated by a talent who is undoubtedly exciting.
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