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Rise To Fame: Callum Gribbin – once compared to Ryan Giggs but he wants to be himself!

Salford-born Callum Gribbin has continued his rise to fame at Manchester United, making his breakthrough into the U23’s last season. This season, after recovering from injury, Gribbin will be expected to continue his development into the star he could be – whether that is for United or beyond, nobody knows. Gribbin has been highly rated for the last few years and has played with many of the young and talented players expected to make their own way towards United first team in the years to come.

Gribbin is a versatile midfielder, capable of playing in a central role, on the left, right or even behind the striker. He started his time in United’s U18 side in the 2014/15 season, making 25 appearances (22 of them starts), scoring five goals and assisting a further five. The player also made a substitute appearance for the U21’s that season, seeing him play a total of 26 times. In the summer of 2015, Gribbin was wanted by Liverpool and Manchester City, he decided to remain at United, sign what was reported as a four-year contract.

During the 2015/16 season, Gribbin played 26 times for the U18, all starts, scoring five goals and assisting a further four. He also played six times for the U19’s, scoring once and assisting a further goal. Gribbin also played once, as a substitute, for the U21’s. In total, Gribbin made 33 appearances, scoring six goals, assisting a further five. The teenager had shown his ability in all three age groups in the Academy, which will continue to see him rise through the ranks on his quest to reach the first team.

Gribbin only played seven times (six starts and one substitute appearance) for the U18’s in the 2016/17 season, scoring six goals and assisting a further goal. United were not involved in a competition at U19 level that season. The player also made more appearances for the now U23’s. starting 12 times, also coming off the bench twice. Gribbin scored once and assisted a further two goals at this level, showing his ability even more. In total, he made 21 appearances, scored seven goals and assisted three more that season.

During the summer of 2017, Gribbin suffered a fractured fibula during pre-season, which was unfortunate for him. The 18-year-old was tipped to return to action in the Premier League International Cup fixture with Athletic Bilbao, he did coming on in the 80th minute of the match for Zak Dearnley – United won the match 2-1. So far this season, Gribbin has started twice for the U23’s, coming off the bench on three more occasions – scoring once and not yet making an assist. It will be a big season for him, especially after losing ground to injury on the eve of the season.

Last season, U18 coach Kieran McKenna, who had many talented players, spoke highly of Gribbin, talking about his experience, his technical skills and his great eye for a pass, saying:

“Another experienced boy who is similar to Ro-Shaun Williams in terms of his experience at this level. He will be quite well-known to the United fans who might have seen a little bit of him. He is a fantastic technician with a really good eye for a pass. 

“What has been pleasing is he’s starting to add to the physical side of his game and is becoming more powerful and dynamic. Also, his attitude to his defensive work and responsibilities is improving all the time. If he can marry those things up, with his talent on the ball, he can have a really bright future.”

During the busy festive period, Gribbin, who had recently turned 19 was called up to train with Jose Mourinho’s first team. The player trained longer than some of his peers from the Academy level, which led to reports he was to be selected as part of the squad to face Southampton in the Premier League. United drew 0-0 at Old Trafford and Gribbin played no part in the match, not even being named on the bench for his club.

It is clear that speculation will continue to be rife in the world of football. Tosin Kehinde was training with United’s first team late last year and there was similar speculation that the Nigerian-born midfielder could make his debut, not being included in the matchday squad. Gribbin is a talented player but he has not played in any of the recent U23 matches; the 4-0 defeat to Arsenal and the 3-0 defeat to West Ham United, last playing in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City on the 18th December 2017, scoring United’s only goal of that match.

It is not known as to why Gribbin has not played the last two fixtures for the U23’s but with the next match against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Monday evening (29th January 2018), if he is fully fit, Gribbin could be back in the squad, which has recently been boosted by the promotion of Angel Gomes, Josh Bohui and Nishan Burkart, which could see the U23’s start to perform this season, or face relegation to Division 2 of the Premier League 2 with Spurs at rock bottom with nine points from 14 matches, United in 11th place with 11 points after the same number of matches.

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