In the first half of the academy season, it was impossible to ignore the form of Largie Ramazani.
The young Belgian scored 9 goals in 11 games for the under-23s, and also provided two assists.
A goal in the EFL Trophy put his numbers into double-figures. Ramazani’s progress was encouraging; nobody had expected him to take such a significant leap forward.
In 2018/19 he scored just once in 16 games for the under-18s, and once in two appearances for the under-23s.
His leap forward made him stand out as United’s most improved young player.
So can he do it again?
Sometimes it all just clicks for a young player. It can be a situation where they develop from a physical standpoint, getting stronger, taller and faster.
Or it can be a case of applying a different attitude, really focusing, working hard with extra sessions and shunning lifestyle distractions which have seen other young players fall by the wayside.
With the academy season over, United cannot drop the ball on Ramazani.
He must be given a chance to kick on.While that may well involve a loan deal next season, United should challenge him to show that he can contribute now.
He took a big leap forward last season. It is possible that with the right focus and commitment, he is capable of doing the same again.
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Ramazani’s progress was halted as 2020 began by minor injuries which saw him play just two matches in the new year.
While this has hurt his momentum, the extended break can help him recover fully.
One lingering distraction is Ramazani’s contract, which expires in 2021. While United should work behind the scenes on extending this, lessons can be learned from the Angel Gomes situation.
If Ramazani gets the chances, he will be more likely to re-commit.
Ramazani is a winger capable of playing on either side, and this past season for the under-23s he has featured up front, with no standout striker in the team after Mason Greenwood made the first team leap.
The youngster has potential to be a useful squad player in attack for United, a different option.
He is capable of popping up anywhere in the final third and can turn a game. Opponents are unlikely to be prepared for him. The element of surprise can work in his favour.
The first step is to involve him in first team training between now and the end of the Premier League season.
Watching James Garner and Teden Mengi get a chance to mix in this week was encouraging, but it felt like Ramazani should have been there too. Instead he was training alone, keeping his fitness up, in case he gets a call.
The opportunity could be everything. If he can impress, and earn Solskajer’s trust, he could become United’s secret weapon.
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