Dillon Hoogewerf has been quietly and effectively developing into one of Manchester United’s most exciting young players.
The 18-year-old may not have generated the column inches of Hannibal Mejbri, Amad Diallo or Charlie McNeill, but he is every bit as promising.
This season, Hoogewerf has scored 12 goals and provided 11 assists in 19 U18 appearances. His all-round play and creative eye have helped McNeill bag many of his 24 strikes at that level.
At first glance, Hoogewerf and United superstar Bruno Fernandes have little in common. But the latter could be the ideal teacher for a young Dutchman hoping to break through at Old Trafford.
Hoogewerf is a driving, dynamic attacker who often impresses out wide. Yet his versatility is such that he can also operate as a highly effective attacking midfielder.
The teenager likes to drop deep and work behind an out-and-out centre forward. Just as Fernandes does with Edinson Cavani, Hoogewerf is developing a fine understanding with McNeill.
The teenager’s position is still to be defined. While billed as a striker when he joined the club, he often gets selected on the wing, but drops back to central areas to orchestrate attacks.
As good as he is in one-on-ones, he also has a fine passing range and often sets up attacks from midfield and arrives late in the box to finish off moves.
His eye for a delicate pass is also impressive for one so young. He can often split a defence in an instant, just as Fernandes does regularly for United’s senior side.
It is that creative side that links him most closely to Fernandes.
A star in the making
Given the number of wide players already in United’s ranks, Hoogewerf’s future could well lie centrally. Over the next few years, learning from Fernandes could fast-track that chance.
When you also consider his goal-scoring ability, the similarities are interesting to note.
The former Ajax youth product thrives on setting up others. But he can also take chances that come his way. And not just in the box.
Like Fernandes, Hoogewerf is not afraid to shoot from distance and he has enjoyed real success with this at U18 level.
A promotion to the U23s is another step in the right direction. From there, learning with United’s £67million signing (BBC) through occasional chances training in the first team would be a huge help, and Fernandes is the perfect role model.
- Joe Hugill scores first Manchester United academy goal since February in EFL Trophy win
- Villarreal star reacts to David de Gea’s Manchester United penalty save
- Solskjaer confirms Anthony Elanga ‘will be involved’ against West Ham
- Varane hails United teammates Pogba, Ronaldo and Maguire
- Telles outlines United ambitions as he nears injury return
- Williams struggles to contain in-form winger and former United target
- Anthony Martial faces uphill task to break into United starting line-up amid exit reports
- Should Phil Jones be given a rare start in the Carabao Cup vs West Ham?
- Cristiano Ronaldo leads the Premier League in shots per game and Juventus numbers show it is sustainable
- United loanee Dylan Levitt praised by manager for making impact in crucial victory
- Five Manchester United youngsters who could feature against West Ham