Five Youth Players Manchester United Could Use Right About Now
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Manchester United, it's fair to say, has not had the greatest season so far. Jose Mourinho's men currently reside in the foggy depths of sixth place in the Premier League table. To put that in perspective, they're even with Everton and three points above Watford.
To make matters worse, there has been a litany of issues for United in the past few weeks. A frustrating loss to Fenerbache in midweek has left United in third in their Europa League group and Mourinho's squad is facing a mini injury crisis.
Pogba limped off during United's Europa League clash (turns out he was fine), while the absence of both Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly means that Mourinho is making due with the awkward centerback pairing of Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo. Antonio Valencia is also a long-term absence after breaking his arm against Manchester City in the EFL cup.
With that in mind, here are five youth players who could give United the boost they so desperately need. It worked with Marcus Rashford, right?
Tipped by many to be the next player to break into the first team, the Congolese-born England youth international is a strong central defender who pushed his way into United's U-21 side ahead of schedule. Tuanzebe, who is about to celebrate his 19th birthday on November 14, made it onto the first team bench against Crystal Palace last year under Louis Van Gaal.
Unfortunately, he suffered an injury shortly after which has curtailed his development somewhat. He is a born leader, having been a captain at U-18 level, despite his status as a first-year, and won the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2015. Expect to see him sooner rather than later.
Williams is essentially following in the footsteps of his partner in crime, Tuanzebe. After taking over the U-18 captaincy for Tuanzebe following the latter's promotion to the U-21 side, Williams was himself promoted soon after. He is a no-nonsense central defender, but he could also have a promising career in defensive midfield.
Williams and Tuanzebe have formed a rock-solid centerback partnership, with both possessing strength, pace and technical prowess in spades. The local lad has made a splash outside of the United setup as well, having broken a 25-year-old 100-meter sprint record while at school. The record was originally set by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell. Having only just turned 18, there is plenty about Williams to get excited about.
There are few players who can boast Williams' combination of pace and power, and his budding partnership with Tuanzebe is one that United fans will hope can flourish for the first team in the future.
While not nearly as close to the first team as Williams or Tuanzebe, 16-year-old Angel Gomes has been creating an enormous amount of buzz. The son of former Portuguese pro Gil Gomes, Angel has been breaking barriers all throughout his young career. He made his U-18 debut at just 14, and, though he only just turned 16, he has already captained England's U-16 and U-17 sides.
His style is akin to that of David Silva, Lionel Messi and other miniature magicians. He shows an incredible combination of skill and maturity, especially for one so young, and it's very hard not to be excited about the lad. The only foreseeable problem for Gomes is whether a growth spurt could throw off his development, but that aside, he is a player that will excite not just Manchester United fans, but England fans as well.
The flashiest of the bunch, Tahith Chong moved to Manchester United this year from Feyenoord, having been touted as one of the Netherlands' hottest prospects. With his Carlos Valderrama hair and electrifying pace, Chong is a left-sided winger-cum-striker who is essentially impossible to miss. Never afraid to take a defender on directly, Chong's tall, physical frame allows him to burn any defenders unfortunate enough to face him.
He's like Moussa Sissoko on a good day, only it happens more than once a year.
An outrageously-talented midfielder with unfortunate injury problems, Josh Harrop is possibly the most technically-talented player of the lot. Unfortunately, his injury problems through all of last season has seen his progression take two steps back. Nevertheless, he is a joy to watch. Like Gomes, Harrop fancies himself as a number 10 in the David Silva mold.
If he can stay injury-free, the Stockport lad has an extraordinarily bright future. Don't believe us? Just watch his two outrageous goals against Salford City, right in front of club owners and United alumni Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville (Goals at 6:00 and 7:12 in video).
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