Can supporters expect to see more of the youth players on the pitch during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign?


When an injury crisis hit Manchester United and rendered nine of the first team unplayable it was time for, what some might call drastic measures. This came in the form of some younger talent being able to play where they might normally not get the chance.

For Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood, this came in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against Paris Saint-Germain, arguably the biggest and most difficult game of this season for the Red Devils. Every United fan knows what happened on that miraculous night in Paris when United succeeded in pulling off a seemingly impossible feat so seal their place in a Champions League quarter-final.

That night was made to look impossible by the vast injury list that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to work around which included the likes of Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rojo and Anthony Martial. Paul Pogba was also suspended after picking up a red card in the first leg for a nasty tackle of Dani Alves. This allowed younger players like Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes to make the bench in what turned out to be a dream match for the youngsters.

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Chong was subbed on in place of Andreas Pereria in the 80th minute and Mason Greenwood made his United debut in the 87th minute. Although the two young players were only on the pitch for 15 minutes they impressed with their display of courage and skill on the ball in such a giant of a game. Many supporters would not have blamed them for crumbling under the pressure but in fact, the opposite happened.

When called upon they stepped up to the plate and did their job for the club. Their display of professionalism tied with the massive scale of the match got brought attention to the talent of the youngsters, and with that brought attention to the probability that they deserve more game time. Many fans realise that they won’t get much more game time unless injuries rely on them to be called up again in the future but could the club be missing out on harnessing some great talent? 

United are renowned for investing in their youth academy to produce some of the star players that the world is watching every week. Marcus Rashford is one player that is home-grown in the academy of United and Danny Welbeck is another name, both of whom became a regular name on England’s National Team squad list. David Beckham is a name that can be added on to that list also. 

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Now appointed as the permanent manager, many supporters are looking towards what the Norwegian will do in the summer transfer window with some big names in the gossip. But other fans are wondering if Solskjaer has what he needs in the younger players. In one case Chong could step in for the place of out of sorts Alexis Sanchez. And Mason Greenwood could step in for Lukaku if another goal drought is to appear. 

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However well they performed when the manager called upon them it is unfortunately unlikely that they will get a steady run of games especially with the likes of Rashford and Martial returning back from injury and the transfer window bringing in new players. However, if they keep working on their talents and proving that they have what it takes when they get the rare chances then one day they could be a weekly starting name on the United team sheet.

Scott McTominay is proof of that being true. The 22-year-old is now a regular name on the team sheet for the Red Devils and is fast becoming a fan favourite with his excellent performances in games for the club.

Supporters just have to hope that the youth talent does not get fed up and decide to move somewhere else as Joshua King did, a player who is now the lead striker for Bournemouth and is being called up to the England Squad for Euro 2020. 

Whatever happens with the young players at United one thing is for sure, even if the current players move away, the excellent United production like will keep on producing the raw talent that has made United’s Academy famous around the world. 

Written by Chris Kaye

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