Manchester United’s pre-season began on Monday with a group of 18 players spotted at Carrington.
It was a real mixed group comprising of academy players and senior stars who have not been on international duty this summer like Axel Tuanzebe, Alex Telles and Nemanja Matic.
The one exception to the rule was Dylan Levitt. The young midfielder was back at Carrington after being involved with Wales at Euro 2020.
Levitt’s Wales were eliminated from the Euros by Denmark on June 26.
Now just nine days on, here was Levitt strolling out at Carrington like he had never been away.
Levitt of course was not a regular for Wales at the Euros. He played a total of just four minutes at the tournament. So in terms of needing to rest up, he is not exactly exhausted.
Dan James by comparison played 316 minutes and has not yet returned. He is enjoying his summer break and could only return to Carrington next week.
No time to waste
The point here is that Levitt knows he has no time to waste. Pre-season chances like this are often the highlight for fringe academy players, a rare opportunity to make an impression on the coaching staff.
Levitt was very unlucky to be left off United’s pre-season tour in 2019 and had no first team involvement in the club’s one friendly match in 2020. So he was always going to jump at the chance to be involved from the start in 2021.
The past season was a disappointing one for the Welshman at club level. His loan at Charlton Athletic worked out poorly for all concerned, and he ended up moving in February to Croatian strugglers NK Istra. As a development opportunity it was useful for him to play abroad, and it was enough to earn him a place in Wales’ 2020 squad. But overall it was not what he envisioned.
Rather than returning to United and pushing for a first team place, Levitt is going to be looking to go out on loan again. This pre-season spell gives him (a) the long shot chance to earn a first team squad place, and (b) the chance for coaches to assess him more closely and provide feedback which may help the club find the best loan move for him.
He clearly wants to enjoy every second of getting to train at Carrington with the first team along with pals James Garner and Ethan Galbraith, and credit to him.
At this moment the prospects of Levitt cracking United’s first team are admittedly very slim, especially with talk of spending millions on Eduardo Camavinga, who is two years younger than him.
All Levitt can do is focus on himself, and making sure he has a strong 2020/21 season.
It will be interesting if he heads abroad again, and a loan to the Dutch or Portuguese league might be a good level for him to play regularly and make an impact, while suiting his technical ability.
A strong season out on loan will see his reputation rise, and in 2022 you never know, Premier League teams may be clamouring to give him a chance.
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