Manchester United’s promising young defender Ezekiel Fryers appears to be on his way out of Old Trafford, and the team’s inability to hold on to its starlets is concerning.
Alan Nixon of Mirror Football reported that Fryers is set to move to Tottenham after allowing his contract with United to expire. Nixon believes the situation will get ugly and a transfer tribunal will have to be involved.
Sky Sports’ Peter O’Rourke reported that Fryers is rumored to be finalizing a four-year deal with Spurs.
Fryers is a 19-year-old England youth player who has the versatility to play both left and center back. He has appeared for his country at the U16, U17 and U19 levels and had been part of the United youth academy since 2009.
He is certainly a bright talent, and Nixon notes that Ferguson evaluated him as a player who could feature for the senior squad down the line. Fryers even appeared as a substitute in two English Premier League matches.
United has a heralded youth academy that has always valued its rising stars. Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley both climbed their way through the ranks and have become trusted members of the first team.
But recently, the top talents at the youth level have been bolting to other clubs.
But then Paul Pogba, another rising star in the midfield, decided to ditch the English giants for Juventus. United confirmed that Pogba is with the Serie A side on July 3, although his departure was imminent long before that.
The team’s youth program is as effective as it ever has been. It produced three fantastic players and has a host of other talents.
But Ferguson must figure out a way to keep his top players in the club and develop them into first-team regulars.
Having three top players leave in the span of a few months is cause for a great deal of concern. The team will not feel the consequences immediately, but there will be effects in the future if the problem is not remedied.
These players likely believe they are ready to play at the highest level, while Ferguson prefers to let a prospect earn his dues before making him a regular with the senior squad. Sir Alex and the youth coaches must make their message clear that patience will lead to greater success for these players down the line.
The youth squad has been a great source of talent for Ferguson throughout his career, and he must ensure that the youngsters' transitions to the senior side go much more smoothly than they have been this year.