Manchester United have confirmed some new additions into the academy ahead of the 2020/21 season. Back in May, the Old Trafford club were linked with 16-year-old Sunderland striker Joe Hugill with reports by the Daily Mail then suggesting a £250,000 deal between the clubs. Although the fee has not been confirmed, the teenager is now a United player, along with teammate Logan Pye, also 16. United have also brought in 16-year-old Czech goalkeeper Radek Vitek from Sigma Olomouc.
During the 2019/20 season, Hugill played for Sunderland at U18 and U23 level, with Transfermarkt stating he made seven appearances in total, scoring three goals. Pye, also playing for Sunderland, made nine appearances at U18 level, scoring no goals but making one assist. Vitek played for Sigma Olomouc U19, making 10 appearances, conceding 17 goals and keeping two clean sheets. Obviously, the trio will mainly be playing at U18 level and be added to the current squad at that level.
Current United player Shola Shoretire, 16 will be added to the U18 squad permanently after performing well during the current season, which was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. Shoretire made a total of 20 appearances for the club this season, scoring three goals and three assists. He is also the youngest player to play in the UEFA Youth League, appearing in the competition last season at the age of 14. United could have a good prospect in the teenager.
Omari Forson, 15 will also remain at United after being linked to Arsenal, which will be important for United considering the talent of the player. During the 2019/20 season, he made 14 appearances, coming off the bench 11 times, scoring one goal and one assist. He only arrived at the club from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2019, so it was good that United ended up keeping the player instead of his returning to London a year later. He could well be one of the shining lights in the academy.
United have also confirmed that defensive duo Rhys Bennett, 16 and Oliver Kilner, 16 will take up places in the U18 squad ahead of the new season with Polish goalkeeper Daniel Polakowski, 16 also rising up to the squad which is coached by Neil Ryan. Bennett has been at United since U9 level with Polakowski being at the club since he was nine. Kilner is a local boy, coming from Stockport. It will certainly be an interesting season ahead with some U18 players likely to make the move to the U23 squad.
This will allow the players to progress through the ranks, forming a continual conveyor belt at the club, with some players eventually making it into the first team and other players earning careers for themselves away from United. This is what happens in youth football – not every player makes it at United but they can learn a lot from being part of the coaching and education scheme of the club. United have always been known for their academy and that looks likely to continue.
Written by John Walker