Predicting the Next 6 Manchester United Youth Players to Make First-Team Debuts

Max TowleAnalyst IMarch 20, 2013

Predicting the Next 6 Manchester United Youth Players to Make First-Team Debuts

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    The Manchester United youth academy is one of the most renowned in world football.

    Many world-class talents have passed through its doors—the likes of Bobby Charlton, George Best and Ryan Giggs immediately come to mind.

    The current crop of youngsters plying their trade at Carrington may not be as noteworthy yet, but who knows which burgeoning Red Devil will join the list of famous alumni?

    Here are six players from both the U21 and U18 sides who are due to make their first-team debut in the next year or so.

    Here's hoping they live up to and exceed their potential.

Sam Johnstone

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    Preston-born Sam Johnstone joined United aged 16 in 2009 and was later a member of the FA Youth Cup-winning side of 2011.

    He is a regular starter for England's youth teams—namely the U19 team at present.

    At 6"3', Johnstone towers over many of his teammates and opposing players in goal but is surprisingly agile for his height—he is a similar breed to current first-team No.1 David de Gea.

    Unless he spends the next season out on loan, expect him to get plenty of League Cup action and possibly a Premier League game or two before 2015.

Jesse Lingard

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    Jesse Lingard was one of Manchester United's most impressive players in the club's preseason friendlies, and it was thought by some that he could play a role in the first team's season.

    But Sir Alex has been patient with the 20-year-old, keeping him playing regular football in the reserves team instead.

    Lingard is a nimble attacking midfielder with a real eye for goal—his preferred position is that just behind the striker.

    The English youngster is overdue for a taste of first-team action—he could possibly feature in the end-of-season Premier League games should the Red Devils wrap up the title early.

Davide Petrucci

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    Davide Petrucci has been one of the Red Devils' most highly rated young talents since joining the club in 2009.

    The Italian attacking midfielder has seen his development as a player stunted by unfortunate injuries, though—he is already 21 and yet to make an impact for Sir Alex's side.

    Petrucci is a creative playmaker who isn't afraid to crack a shot from distance.

    Currently out on loan at Peterborough United for the remainder of the current season, he scored a terrific goal for the Posh earlier this year.

Frederic Veseli

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    When Frederic Veseli swapped Manchester City blue for United red in January 2012, fans of the Red Devils made sure to rub the snub in their rivals' faces, even if the majority hadn't even heard of the player.

    His progress in Warren Joyce's reserves team has been gradual, but he has shown his talent when given a good run of games.

    Veseli was played at right-back by Sir Alex in United's preseason action, but the Swiss-born defender's preferred position is in the middle.

    Once he's bulked up a bit, the Scotsman may feel confident enough in his abilities to blood him at the highest level.

Adnan Januzaj

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    Adnan Januzaj may be the player to watch throughout the entirety of Manchester United's youth setup.

    The Belgian youngster is a versatile attacking threat in midfield and is capable of playing through the middle and on either wing. He has tremendous skill and pace to burn.

    Sir Alex recently said of the 18-year-old: "Nick Powell and Adnan Januzaj were in the reserves on Monday and you say to yourself—these are definite Manchester United first-team players" (via The Independent).

    "They have outstanding qualities. We can see that."

    For those who have seen the boy in action, we can see that too.

Jack Barmby

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    As the son of former Everton, Liverpool and Hull City midfielder Nick Barmby, Jack has a pretty decent legacy to live up to.

    The 18-year-old forward has been one of the U18 side's most prolific goal threats for a while now, finishing the previous season as the top scorer with 13.

    He is a buzzing threat in the box, with a lot more all-round talent to be called a mere "poacher."

    Barmby has been a regular for the England youth setup, and he has the potential to eclipse his dad's career achievements.

    Who else in the Manchester United youth teams yet to make their first-team debut impresses you?