Who will be the next Academy graduate at Manchester United?

As the World Cup is approaching club football prepares itself for the summer break and with that Jose Mourinho and the back room will already be deep into preparation for next seasons campaign. With transfer talk and rumours in full swing, there are many suggesting who could be the right fit to push the side on next season, however, with the youth establishment in a rife period are there any players who are ready to make the step up to the first team?

The academy at Manchester United is perhaps the most famed in the country with plenty of stars emerging from the ranks over the years from the Busby Babes to Fergie’s Fledglings. The talent that has emerged has included legends such as Bobby Charlton, George Best, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. In recent years Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford have broken onto the scene and proved their ability in the first team scoring important goals in massive matches. So, who could be next on the conveyor belt?

Perhaps the most talked about prospect currently at the club is Angel Gomes. A young player who has been tipped for stardom for a long time. He is a tricky creative attacker with good balance and dribbling attributes he likes to play the number ten role and has featured heavily for the U18s this season and in January moved up to the reserves. He has already found success in the youth system picking up an U17 World Cup winners medal and the 2016/17 season’s Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year award.

Although he made his debut for the club over a year ago when he replaced Wayne Rooney on the final day of the campaign in 2017, he has yet to cement himself in the first team squad and with his age, it is clear to see that he has got plenty of time to develop and improve. However, there is clear potential there and he may begin to force himself into Jose Mourinho’s plans for the forthcoming pre-season tour of the United States of America.

From one Academy Player of the Year to another. The ever noticeable Tahith Chong’s rise at Manchester United has been fantastic and has really begun to prove his worth in the Academy set-up. Signed from Feyenoord Rotterdam in 2016, Chong is another attacking midfielder who is impressing many he plays with a directness and determination and is very comfortable on the ball. He definitely has the makings of developing into a United player having already dealt with and come back from a nasty injury that sidelined him in his first season at the club. He has come back just as strong and it would be nice to see him get an opportunity to mix in with the first team over the summer.

Last on the potential call-up list is Mason Greenwood, a player who is a little younger than Chong and Gomes and has yet to earn the notoriety of the two before him but he is another with endless potential that has applied himself well at the club so far. He is a speedy striker that has found the net regularly this season with 16 goals across the different youth sides. Greenwood is a unique talent that can score from all angles and genuinely doesn’t have a weaker foot taking penalties with either. Although he is still very young it would be a brilliant opportunity for him to be around the first team and develop his game so that when he does make the jump he is adequately prepared.

It will be interesting to see if Mourinho does include any of these names as he has made it an aim to promote the youth following criticisms and doubts alleging that he didn’t like to give a chance to the younger players. Therefore, although it is unlikely all three will be involved there may be one or two places up for grabs especially with several first teamers being involved with the world cup. Who knows what the future holds but this type of development is engrained into United’s soul just take Scott McTominay’s progress into consideration and if one catches the eye on the tour they may find themselves firmly in Mourinho’s future plans.

Written by Josh Keifer

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