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DJ Buffonge: Possibly the future of Manchester United’s midfield

Fast, versatile and deadly; these are some of the words that can be used to describe Manchester United’s Darren Junior Buffonge, whose full name is one you might struggle to remember; Darren Raekwon McIntosh-Buffonge. Sadly, he is often overshadowed by Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Callum Gribbin.

The midfielder used to play for Arsenal’s academy before he was a teenager. He was nurtured there but failed to make much impact and he decided to move to Fulham, where he really started making a name for himself. He possessed great talent and this was shown in the fact that he was playing for the U18 side when he was still the age of an U15 player.

Quite a few top clubs were interested in him, but Fulham were desperate to keep one of their brightest talents, and in order to do so, they offered him a football scholarship in the 2014/15 season. His contract was set to expire at the end of that very season. He faced a dilemma; he had the options of staying at Fulham where he could expect get promoted to the first team very soon, or try to move to a bigger club where facilities and coaches would probably be of a higher class. He chose the latter; as he turned down the scholarship and let his contract expire.

He then went on trial with United for the start of the 2015/16 season and impressed, picking up three assists in three U18 league matches. Sadly, his trial was cut short due to a groin injury. But United saw the talent in him and signed him permanently when he recovered in November 2015 on a scholarship deal.

He has incredibly quick feet and can get past players with ease. He can play either as a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder or a winger. I personally feel his best position is in the attacking midfield as only in that position can his true talent be unleashed. In that position, he is free to move forward and create chances. There have been multiple occasions in which he has been able to dribble one to three players and set up an assist.

Speaking of assists (which is his forte), he picked up seven assists in 13 matches for Manchester United’s U18’s in the 2015/16 season. He can also score goals, an indication of this is that he picked up seven goals in 18 starts and four appearances off the bench in the 2016/17 season. It can be said that he plays a similar role to Paul Pogba. United’s under-18s coach Paul McGuinness spoke to Manchester Evening News a while ago.

“He’s a talented young player, He is a left sided midfield player who can beat people and plays some good through balls as well.

“In old-fashioned terms, I would say he was an inside-forward but in modern day speak he is an attacking midfielder. But he is versatile as well.

“It was a shame he was injured so soon but we like what we have seen so far and were delighted to sign him up.

“He’s been working hard on his recovery ever since but when he is fully fit again then he will be a nice addition to our squad.

“But I don’t expect he will be back in contention until after Christmas.”

This was said after he injured himself during his trial.

Buffonge, Chong, Gomes, and Gribbin are some of United’s best prospects and they play very well together. A video of a goal which was scored by Gomes vent viral a while ago. In that video, Gomes (who wears a number ten shirt) combines with a player wearing the number seven shirt, who takes it past one player with ease and then past another player with a classy nutmeg.

A lot of people wondered who the player wearing the number seven shirt was. That player was in fact, Darren Junior Buffonge, who showcased his incredible ability in his interplay with Gomes. If things go to plan, there could be another great number seven at the club.

Remember the name: DJ Buffonge.

Written by Ehsaan Thahaseel

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