Manchester United fans who follow the Academy have been hearing about midfielder Dylan Levitt and the talent the midfielder has for many years, with his name being pushed into the spotlight after his debut in November 2019 in the Europa League, having only just turned 19. The Welsh midfielder went from strength to strength, finishing the 2019/20 Premier League 2 campaign with 12 Appearances, three goals and four assists. This solid display led to United wanting to send Levitt on loan, to gain crucial experience in tough leagues and to get minutes under his belt.
The first loan United sent Levitt on was to Charlton Athletic in League One, under manager Lee Bowyer. This looked to many United fans to be the perfect fit for a player like Levitt, With United stating; “The club continues to prioritise individual development over short-term team results and looks to provide the most challenging and beneficial environment for each player in their Professional Development phase” when announcing the Loan of Levitt on their website.
This implies that the club were under the impression that at Charlton the midfielder would be able to get many minutes under his belt and define his skills, unfortunately this was not the case. In the twenty three games available for Levitt to play in the league for Charlton during his spell, he only started three games, amassing only 206 minutes in League One in total. In seven of those games, Levitt was left out of the squad completely, showing a total lack of interest in the player by the manager, for this reason it is not surprising that Levitt was recalled from his loan in January, as confirmed by the club.
There can be no doubt that this loan spell was a disaster for the young midfielder, with Lee Bowyer confirming that the lack of playing time was not down to anything Levitt had done, but due to the fact that ‘the middle of the park is probably our strongest area’, as reported by Manchester Evening News. This period at Charlton worryingly stalled Levitt’s development as a player due to lack of playing time, it was likely concerns over his development that led to the club sending Levitt to a rather unorthodox club as his next loan, in a bid to gain priceless experience.
In February of 2021, after the domestic transfer window had closed, United loaned Levitt to Croatian club NK Istra, as reported by BBC Sport. According to BBC Sport, this late push for playing time was in order for Levitt to secure a place in Wales Euro 2020 squad, worried that the lack of playing time at Charlton had ruined his chances. However, much like with Charlton, playing time was as much of an issue in Croatia, with Levitt only amassing 405 minutes across all competitions for the Croatian outfit, scoring no goals and making no assists in that time.
The Welsh international only started two games in the league, again showing a lack of faith from the manager, with this in mind it is safe to say that during the 2020/21 season, both of Dylan Levitt’s loan spells did not provide the developmental experience both himself and the club were after.
The only clear positive to come from the 2020/21 season for Levitt was his involvement in the Welsh National team, even after a lack of playing time during the season, the midfielder was still selected for the Welsh squad for Euro 2020. Levitt made a substitute appearance during the tournament, and while his appearance was short, the experience gained from a tournament of that magnitude can be invaluable to a young player like Levitt. The fact he was still being selected after poor loan spells shows a level of trust in the young player from his country that is extremely promising and that his obvious talent is valued there.
The reason why the 2021/22 season is critical for Levitt is because this season he can either stall further and fall behind players who are currently developing at the same rate as him, or he can push on and gain valuable experience that could lead to him being in United’s first team squad come next season. United recently announced that Levitt has been sent on loan to Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership, this is a great opportunity for Levitt to grow as a player in a league that is notoriously tough and to gain experience.
This move is similar to how James Garner gained much needed experience in a loan spell to Nottingham Forest in the 2020/21 season, and recently joined them on loan again to further develop his skills in a league that is much more demanding that the Premier League 2 that Levitt and Garner would otherwise be playing in.
Tahith Chong is a player who, similarly to Levitt, struggled for playing time in two different loan spells away from United last season at Werder Bremen and Club Brugge, but has this season joined Birmingham City on loan and has hit the ground running for them, already putting in Man of the Match winning performances for the Championship side. This shows that Levitt can put the disappointment of last season behind him and kick on with his football this season and prove his ability in a tough league.
United fans have seen glimpses of the midfielder’s potential for many years, and this season, it is crucial for Levitt’s development and future as a United player, that he shows his class as a player and makes the most of an exciting loan opportunity. There is no doubt that this season is critical for Levitt, and fans are desperate to see him succeed.
Written by Jennifer McCord