Ones To Watch: Aidan Barlow, already used to scoring some stunning goals

Famously known for featuring as a ball-boy alongside teammate Angel Gomes against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup earlier this year, Aidan Barlow has some attributes in the side Kieran McKenna and Nicky Butt had built for the new season. His major success isn’t that as he has had a great season with the U18’s nor the fact that he was chosen in ball-boy duty, it was just the fact that he was being noticed and actually involved in the first team, in a special way. A gifted midfielder who has had a lot to go through his career, especially in the very early days as he had a minor injury that stopped him making progression.

Barlow is a central midfielder that made his debut for the U18’s in the 2014/15 season as a substitute in the final game, being part of the U15’s that season. He did not have much luck during the following season as the Salford-born lad scored twice in the eight substitute appearances he made for the Academy side. However, under new manager Kieran McKenna he made a more stable start as he made 19 appearances, recording 12 goals and assisting three times and since he completed a great season with the U18’s, Aidan Barlow was given a chance by Nicky Butt to make his debut away at Chelsea last December. This has been a good moment in his career for the 17-year-old as he has now found his place in the team, having strong competition, at U18’s level, Manchester United has some great prospects in the squad.

His first goal for the U18’s came against Swansea and has already bagged a hat-trick against Newcastle United. Now, the good moment that was built after Kieran McKenna joined Manchester United as the U18’s, manager, here’s what he had to say regarding him in the beginning of the 2016/17 season:

“Aidy’s a local lad who has been here a long time. He’s another who has had to be patient as he’s found himself behind some really fantastic attacking players who are a little bit older than him. He’s been patient, worked hard and applied himself when he’s played for the Under-17s or Under-16s. When he has come on or started for the Under-18s, he has taken his opportunities and performed well. He is one who will have a big part to play over the next 18 months.”

Barlow was meant to play on the big stage this season as he was called for the England U17’s for the European Championships which took place in Croatia. That was his first call-up at such a level and he was the only one who represented Manchester United as Angel Gomes was held back after picking up an injury, right after coming back from one. It was indeed a great success for him as the English youngster, after not being used in England’s opening game of the tournament, came on as a substitute in the last few minutes scoring a beautiful goal after being on the pitch for just three minutes; a goal he was really proud of. England, however, lost in the final, but Barlow’s appearances had an impact on Butt’s choice for the Terborg Tournament, featuring there as well, as the Reds finished fourth, despite a strong start.

What did drag the attention of the media over the few past months was the beautiful goal he scored against eternal rivals in the U18’s Premier League, as he came on as a substitute and scored twice in five minutes. However, the team didn’t hold pressure well as Liverpool equalized in injury time, leaving a bad taste, after some good play from Barlow. What makes him so special that we keep mentioning him?

Barlow has built his game closely and very nicely; going majorly unnoticed but he is indeed a really great team player that has contributed to the really good performances Manchester United U18’s have produced during the last season. Starting from the very beginning, Barlow has been more careful, has pushed the ball forwards very well and most importantly has been a bit cynical in the movement he has made in the final third of the pitch. A deserved call-up to the England U17 team, already being in the mood to score almost as soon as he entered the pitch. He needs to grow his game of course, but he will soon show his character as a good footballer as soon as he enters the bigger stage. In a team full of talented prospects who will one day compete for a first team spot, Barlow at some point has stolen the show. His achievement with England is indeed a big one, one which will help him develop even further.

Written by Fabiola Cejku


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