Manchester United: 5 Youth Players Who Could Be Future Stars
Throughout Ferguson’s 27 years at United, he has made it his mission to incorporate local youngsters into his various squads, with his titular fledglings being the finest example.
The likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Danny Welbeck have each helped United to unprecedented levels of success, as they flourished alongside more expensive and illustrious players like Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney.
But which current youth players look destined to become the future Manchester United stars of tomorrow? Here are five young Red Devils to keep an eye on.
Jesse Lingard thoroughly impressed throughout last summer’s preseason friendlies, and some fans believed that he might even play a part in the 2012/13 campaign.
Alas, he has yet to make an impact at Old Trafford, but at 20, he is now at the perfect age to finally unleash his potential on United fans.
Lingard’s preferred role is just behind the striker, but he can also play on the wings or in central midfield.
He was a key figure in United’s 2011 FA Youth Cup win, and a recent spell on loan at Leicester City has certainly whet his appetite, as he recently told ManUtd.com: “I’ve got to keep consistent and working hard in training. You never know, the boss might throw me in at the end of the season.”
Is this the new Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Positionally, no, but he could ultimately become the new Scandinavian idol at Old Trafford.
When Manchester United completed a deal with Stabaek for Mats Daehli in 2010, the side’s reserve team coach told Goal.com, “I think he is going to play for the first team and every coach at Man United thinks he will play for the first team.”
He then added, “He is one of the best players in Europe in his age group. He is the best player I have ever seen at his age and I have seen a lot of international players at that age.”
Daehli has been compared to the likes of Xavi and Lionel Messi, whilst United had to fight off interest from Bayern Munich and Ajax for the eclectic midfielder’s signature.
Since arriving at United he has been awarded the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award, and he has now even established himself in Norway’s under-21 team.
The son of former Everton and Tottenham midfielder Nick Barmby, Jack has shone in a number of positions for United, playing in midfield and attack, even finishing as the youth team’s top scorer in 2011/12.
Barmby has produced some magical moments for United, and he has previously been short-listed for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award.
Earlier this year he was called into the England U-19 squad, despite the fact he only turned 18 in December. A real prospect.
A Kosovo-born winger with Belgian nationality, it is thought that Adnan Januzaj will feature in some of United’s games before the end of the season now that the Red Devils have wrapped up the Premier League title.
Januzaj was even given the squad No. 44 in preparation for his run in the team, and after providing five assists and one goal in just 14 appearances for the U-21 side, Ferguson will be hoping that the winger can prove himself and give him a selection headache for next season.
His deadliness from set pieces has already heralded a number of comparisons to David Beckham too. Which is never a bad thing.
A Manchester native, Tom Thorpe can play in either central defence or midfield, and he has been on Ferguson’s radar ever since captaining the academy side to FA Youth Cup glory in 2011.
Tom is a born leader who has is a defensive stalwart but also possesses great technical ability and composure, and has a keen eye for a pass.
With several of United’s first-team defenders reaching their nadir, Thorpe might well see the next 12 months as the prime time to prove he can leap into first-team reckoning.