Joe Hugill scored two goals to turn a looming defeat into a win for Manchester United’s under-18 side at the weekend.
The teenage talent’s double helped to secure a 4-3 victory against Liverpool’s under-18s, after earlier goals from Charlie McNeill and Charlie Wellens.
Hugill now has six goals in three games for the under-18s this season, netting two goals in every match he has played at this level.
However, he has barely featured for the 18s since netting two on his debut.
United made the decision to quickly call him up to the under-23s, who have lacked a striker, while there has been plenty of talent to fill in at 18s level.
United are pushing him
Hugill had played under-23 football before for Sunderland before joining, even at the age of 16, so it was not a big jump for him.
He made the transition look seamless, scoring twice in a draw with Blackburn.
Hugill has only scored once since for the under-23s though, because he has been mainly used as a substitute.
He is still averaging a goal every 118 minutes in the under-23s league, but his substitute role has seen the academy bosses drop him back into the under-18s occasionally just to bolster his game time.
In total Hugill has a tally of nine goals in 12 games this season.
You can only wonder what his record would be like if he had been kept in the under-18s all season long.
But that would be too easy for him. United are determined to push the players, and Hugill, 17, is being challenged to force his way into the under-23s as a regular starter.
2021 could be a big year for the young striker, and he is looking like a very shrewd addition to the club’s academy teams.
This time next year we may even be talking about Hugill starting to build a case for a first team debut, and there is even an outside shot he could get a chance in the Europa League. For that to happen, he needs to continue his prolific start.
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