Preview: U18’s to aim for glory in the FA Youth Cup against Southampton

Old Trafford, Manchester

FA Youth Cup 2016/17

Monday 12th December 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U18’s commence their journey in the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford this evening, entertaining one-time finalists Southampton. Kieran McKenna’s U18’s side have been playing some great football in the Premier League U18 this season, sitting second in the table, four points adrift Manchester City, who still have a game in hand over United. The side has been free-scoring this season, finding the back of the net 43 times, conceding just 23 times. Angel Gomes is the club’s top scorer at this level with eight goals this season, also assisting in a further six goals, which is a good record for the youngster. Both DJ Buffonge and Indy Boonen have scored six goals this season, with Boonen assisting four times and Buffonge assisting five times. Goals are something this talented side can score regularly, which is something the U23’s are struggling to do this season without an out-and-out striker.

United have many talented players in the U18’s this season, RoShaun Williams and Callum Gribbin will also be likely to be involved, with the former playing the last match for the U18’s and the latter being involved for both the U18 and U23’s since his return from injury this season. Kieran McKenna, the U18 coach has spoken to the official Manchester United website ahead of tonight’s match, saying:

“I was very aware, even from the outside, that United have a big tradition in the competition. Right from the Busby Babes. I think everyone knows that from the outside and you get a greater feeling of how important it is for everyone and how proud everybody is of the record in it.

“It’s something the players are aware of, but not too aware so to remove some of the burden of pressure, but we know we want to go out and put on our best performance.

“It’s fantastic the game is at Old Trafford and a big thanks to the club for enabling us to do that because I think it adds massively to the occasion. It is what the FA Youth Cup is all about really, getting some of the most talented youth players on the biggest stage possible to see how they cope with that. Playing in stadiums under pressure, for some of the players, is a great experience and, for others, maybe a lifetime experience they will never forget.

“Obviously, it’s a tough draw. Southampton have a really strong academy as well but, to do well in the tournament, you have to face some good sides and knock out some good sides. So, to have a home draw against another very successful academy is something we’re pleased with and, to be honest, we’ll relish playing against a good side like that.”

Manchester United have won the FA Youth Cup ten times, playing in 14 finals. The first five years in the youth tournament, United dominated winning the cup from 1953 right through to 1957. Then United took seven years to lift the cup again, in 1964, winning it for the sixth time in the club’s history. Twenty-eight years passed before the Class of 92′ won the cup, in 1992, then United won it again in 1995. Eight years passed before lifting the cup once again in 2003, with another eight years passing before winning it for the tenth time in 2011. United were the runners-up in 1982, 1986, 1993, and 2007. Obviously, the well-known winners of the cup will be from the Busby Babes era with David Pegg, Albert Scanlon, Bill Whelan, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Wilf McGuinness, Bobby Charlton, Shay Brennan, Kenny Morgans and many others. Then came the likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Chris Casper, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Robbie Savage et al in the 1990’s. The most recent FA Youth Cup victory in 2011 saw the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Sam Johnstone, Ravel Morrison and Will Keane, among others. Three of those players are still at the club today – one being a world record signing.

Manchester United U18 Squad:

Manager: Kieran McKenna

Goalkeepers: Alex Fojticek, Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui, Max Johnstone

Defenders: Ro-Shaun Williams, Harry Spratt, Jake Barrett, Lee O’Connor, Luca Ercolani, Max Dunne, Tyrell Warren, Thomas Sang,

Midfielders: Aiden Barlow, Andre Gomes, Callum Whelan, DJ Buffonge, Callum Gribbin, Ethan Hamilton, Faustin Makela, Indy Boonen, Jake Kenyon, Zachary Dearnley

Forwards: George Tanner, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts, Josh Bohui, Nishan Burkart, Tahith Chong

Southampton U18 Squad:

Manager: Craig Fleming

Goalkeepers: Neal Osborn, Adam Parkes, Alex Cull

Defenders: Benn Cull, Connor Langan, Yan Valery, Ben Rowthorn, Javen Siu, Jake Vokins, Kieran Freeman, Oliver Gardner, Jamie Bradley-Green, Aaron O’Driscoll, Christoph Klarer

Midfielders: Rugare Musendo, Archie Thomas, Callum Slattery, Thomas O’Connor, Tyreke Johnson, Siph Mdlalose, Harry Hamblin, Harrison Davis, Will Smallbone, Harlem Hale, 

Forwards: Dan N’Lundulu, Jonathan Afolabi, Michael Obafemi

Manchester United U18 Top Scorers:

8 – Angel Gomes, 6 – DJ Buffonge, Indy Boonen, 5 –  Callum Gribbin, 3 – Nishan Burkart, Tahith Chong, 2 – Aiden Barlow, Joshua Bohui, Idris Kanu, 1 – Jake Barrett, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts, Faustin Makela, Lee O’Connor, George Tanner, Tyrell Warren

Southampton U18 Top Scorers:

4 – Tyreke Johnson, Siph Mdlalose, Will Smallbone, 2 – Michael Obafemi, 1 – Harlem Hale, Dan N’Lundulu, Ben Rowthorn, Callum Slattery

Manchester United U18 Form:- DWDWW

Manchester City 2-2 D, Derby County 4-0 W, Liverpool 3-3 D, Newcastle United 4-0 W, Blackburn Rovers 4-1 W

Southampton U18 Form:- DLLDL

Aston Villa 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 6-2 L, Chelsea 4-1 L, Swansea City 1-1 D, Fulham 3-0 L

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 4-0 Southampton

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