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Ones To Watch: Indy Boonen; an attacking midfielder with a deft touch and an eye for goal

Highly regarded as a talented midfield individual, Belgian Indy Boonen joined Manchester United from Genk in 2015 and has been impressing ever since. No word yet on first team appearances for the 18-year-old but he’s still improving and learning all the time.

A naturally left-footed player Boonen can play across the middle but, according to his father, he is destined to play as a No.10. However, this isn’t just a father’s pride talking, it’s also a professional opinion. Indy Boonen’s father Jacky Boonen was a professional himself playing for a number of clubs in Belgium during his career. His father has also gone on record as saying he believes his son’s talent ill eclipse his own:

“I used to play for Lierse, Lokeren and Beveren but my son is a much bigger talent.”

After settling into the team Boonen began to enjoy a fruitful on-field partnership with another precocious talent, Angel Gomes. The relationship proved fruitful as he scored seven goals from 12 starts and ended last season with seven goals and five assists from 19 games played.

He seems to have a good head on his shoulders as well when asked about his move to United he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws the following:

“Of course I will miss my friends but if you want to achieve something then you have to make sacrifices. The training sessions are hard, but I don’t feel the tiredness when I realise I have signed for Manchester United.”

It seems like making the sacrifice has paid off as he continues to amaze with shows of skill and well taken goals. His first goal came against Middlesbrough and showed amazing technique and anticipation. After receiving a pass on the left side of the pitch from Gomes (who else?!), he received the ball just as he made it into the box and without breaking stride managed to slot past the keeper at his near post.

While his first goal was pretty special there have been a good few more and his best performance undoubtedly came against Newcastle last year when he scored a hat-trick in a 7-1 rout of the Tyneside team.

Whilst he is not the quickest player to grace the pitch, he makes up for this with a great touch and accomplished dribbling, and his reading of the game means he can spot the space, whether to pass into or receive the ball, meaning he is always planning his next move ahead of time.

His assuredness on the pitch has also been noticed by coaches and fans alike, with one U18 follower, Paul Ansorge of the Bleacher Report, describing his versatility and confidence:

“I would agree that defining his real strengths is a struggle. He is really exciting but hard to pick his best position or exactly what type of player he is. You can see his confidence, maybe even borderline cockiness increasingly manifesting itself on the pitch with some of the tricks he tries.”

An ‘attacking player with bags of creativity’, much is expected of Boonen. He has already proven it at this level and it is expected he will continue it far beyond the academy.

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