Manchester United's three best under-18 players in 2021/22 so far
Manchester United’s under-18 side underwent a transformation in the summer. Most of last season’s stars were pushed up to the under-23s, including top scorer Charlie McNeill.
After a couple of shaky results to begin this season, this group of young players have hit their stride, recording some big wins.
There have been a number of standout performers, and in picking our best three, striker Manni Norkett and midfielder Daniel Gore just miss out.
As we reach the midway point of the campaign, here is a look at United’s top under-18 trio in 2021/22 so far…
Sam Mather announced himself in late August with a goal against Leeds which he celebrated with a Cristiano Ronaldo celebration. It set the tone for a dazzling season.
Mather has more combined goals and assists than any other academy player at United, and also starred in the recent FA Youth Cup victory. In total he has six goals and nine assists so far.
The winger has been making a name for himself with England’s under-18s side too, and has already made his debut for United’s under-23 side.
Mather’s highlight came in the Premier League Cup win over Birmingham, in which he provided three assists in a single game.
Mainoo made his debut for the under-16s last season and has stepped up this campaign as a key player for the team.
The skilful central midfielder has been instrumental in some of United’s best performances and scored an impressive header against Middlesbrough back in October. Mainoo has scored two goals and provided three assists.
The 16-year-old has also made his under-23 debut and recently featured for England’s under-17s.
Mainoo’s development is one to watch, he is growing in confidence and beginning to control games, and United are rightly very excited about him.
Garnacho edges Norkett out after a series of eye-catching displays across all levels. He scored his first goal of the season with a direct free-kick and netted a spectacular volley in the Youth Cup.
The 17-year-old has also scored goals in the UEFA Youth League and for the under-23s, and may not be with the under-18s for too much longer.
In all competitions Garnacho has scored nine goals for United’s academy sides and also provided a further four assists.
As he continues to progress, United will push and challenge him further. The former Atletico Madrid talent is capable of even more, and while he needs to become more ruthless in front of goal, he is showing really promising signs he could develop into a special player.
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