Who will be the next Manchester United youngster to make debut?
This past season has been a productive one for Manchester United’s academy.
The under-23 team were battling to win promotion from their division, with the under-18s reaching the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup, before the season was halted.
A high number of young players made their debuts for the first team too, especially thanks to the experimental team selection away at Astana in the Europa League in November.
Here is a list of all the young players who have made their Manchester United debuts in the 2019/20 season: Brandon William, Dylan Levitt, Di’Shon Bernard, Largie Ramazani, Ethan Laird, D’Mani Mellor, Ethan Galbraith.
Young stars Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood have all made steps forward in their careers, but all made their debuts in previous campaigns.
Many of these players, like Laird, Levitt, and Galbraith have a lot more to offer, but the production line isn’t stopping with them. Next season will see more chances given.
So who will be the next youngster to break through? Here is a look at five contenders…
There could be no holding back this lad. Mengi, 17, has the makings of a complete centre-back, strong in the air and quick with his feet.
He has captained the under-18s in the Youth Cup and is a regular for the under-23s too.
The first team is only a matter of time. He travelled with the team to Astana, showing that he is already in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s thoughts.
With centre-backs Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling all hoepfully moving on, there could be a pathway for Mengi to step up.
Talented left-back Reece Devine has impressed since leaving City to join United.
Like teammate Mengi, he has played under-18s and under-23 football this season.
United have looked to utilise both Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw in the same team, with the latter at centre-back in a three-man defence.
In case of an injury to Williams, Devine could be called upon to slot in and take his place. The 18-year-old is a useful back-up plan for United to have.
Spanish midfielder Puigmal is close. He trained with the first team last season and is a regular for the under-23s.
He was an unused substitute against Astana and will hope to go one better next season.
His versatility could help him get his opportunity. Puigmal can play in midfield, or at right-back.
A loan deal could be in the 19-year-old’s interests if United do not have an immediate plan for him.
The most exciting wonderkid in Manchester United’s academy, Hannibal Mejbri has made a big impression since joining from Monaco last summer.
Mejbri made his under-23 debut at just 16, with his creativity and passing range clearly standing out.
United clearly have big hopes for him, and like Mengi, it is going to be tough to slow his progress.
He could be the best bet to make his debut in 2020/21. If it were possible to put money on it, we would recommend it.
Need natural pace and trickery to light up a game? United could do worse than give Anthony Elanga an opportunity to state his case.
The Sweden youth international has had an excellent season for the under-18s, scoring seven goals in nine games and providing three assists. Only a mid-season injury has delayed his progress.
Elanga still needs to reproduce this form at under-23 level, and that is his next challenge, but if he can make a quick transition here next season, then he could well be rewarded with a first team call up.
United need talented wingers, and Elanga, just 17, has the makings of a very good player.
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