Manchester United: 5 Promising Players in the Youth System to Keep an Eye On

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentAugust 1, 2013

Manchester United: 5 Promising Players in the Youth System to Keep an Eye On

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    FROM the Busby Babes to Fergie's Fledglings, Manchester United fans are always looking for the next homegrown player to break into the first team.

    There is always a special place in a club's history for teams that have been built in their own backyard. 

    Ajax won the European Cup in 1995 with a side which included Michael Reiziger, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert while Barcelona have made the most of a production line of talent from La Masia.

    Jonny Evans, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck are the latest academy graduates to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes earning a place in the first-team squad at Old Trafford. 

    Despite taking a hit with the loss of Paul Pogba to Juventus and Zeki Fryers, now with Tottenham via a short spell at Standard Liege, there are plenty more youngsters waiting to make the step up.

Adnan Januzaj

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    United fans who watched the Under-21s last season will have known all about Adnan Januzaj long before the preseason tour of Australia and Asia.

    He was on the bench for Sir Alex Ferguson's farewell at West Brom at the end of the last season and got his chance to impress new manager David Moyes with Antonio Valencia, Nani and Wayne Rooney absent from this summer's travelling party.

    The 18-year-old Belgian midfielder, signed from Anderlecht in 2011, was part of the team which won the Under-21 Premier League last season.

Jesse Lingard

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    Jesse Lingard was part of the team which beat Sheffield United in the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2011 that also included Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison.

    But while Pogba and Morrison have moved on, Lingard has continued his development at Old Trafford, culminating in a successful preseason tour this summer.

    The 20-year-old from Warrington scored four in four on the tour of Australia and Asia, including the first goal of David Moyes' reign.

    He played five games on loan at Leicester in the Championship last season and another loan spell could follow this season.

Will Keane

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    The future was looking bright for Will Keane, another Youth Cup winner from 2011, towards the end of the 2011/12 season. 

    The striker from Stockport made his Premier League debut on New Year's Eve after coming on as a late substitute during the defeat to Blackburn, but his progress was halted by a knee injury while playing for England Under-19s.

    He spent the whole of last season on the sidelines but the 20-year-old, winner of United's Young Player of the Year award in 2010 and already an England Under-21 international, is now nearing full fitness.

Michael Keane

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    Will's twin brother Michael, a centre-half, played twice for United last season in Capital One Cup games against Newcastle and Chelsea.

    But after United were knocked out at Stamford Bridge, the 20-year-old spent the rest of the season on loan at Leicester, helping them into the play-offs.

    He was included in the squad for this summer's preseason tour but with competition from Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones at centre-half, he could be loaned out again this season to get more experience.

Jack Barmby

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    Jack Barmby, son of former England international Nick, was offered his first professional contract at United earlier this summer.

    The 18-year-old striker joined the academy in 2008 and has been capped four times at England Under-19 level. He will most likely be part of the Under-21 squad this season.