Ones to Watch: DJ Buffonge

Manchester United are rightly famed for the talent produced in the club’s academy, so the excitement surrounding DJ Buffonge is understandable given the youngster’s performances at youth level.

Buffonge was signed in 2015 following a successful trial at the club. His trial only lasted three matches before a severe groin injury ruled him out for several months but his performances in such a short time did enough to impress, and Buffonge made his move to United permanent on November 13th.

An inventive and creative midfield player, Buffonge is comfortable in possession of the ball and is equally adept at scoring goals or providing that killer pass in the attacking third. Watching the 17-year-old, it is his pace and technical ability that really shine through, even at such a young age.

Buffonge joined United from Fulham where he spent five years as a Cottager. He has always shown an abundance of quality and the right attitude for football at the highest level. In his final season at Fulham, in 2014-15, he made 15 league appearances for the Under-18’s despite still being classed as an Under-16 player. Making that step up to the Manchester United set-up was a natural progression for the young man and one he’s made look easy.

Whilst on trial with the club, then Under-18’s coach Paul McGuinness spoke to MEN Sport about Buffonge’s ability:

“He’s a talented young player.

“He is a left-sided midfield player who can beat people and plays some good through balls as well.

“In old-fashioned terms, I would say he was an inside-forward but in modern-day speak he is an attacking midfielder. But he is versatile as well.”

Now in his second season at Manchester United, Buffonge has started the new season well. His adaptability has made him an important part of Kieran McKenna’s team and he’s been in superb form so far this term, contributing both goals and assists from both attacking and defensive positions in midfield.

A particular highlight was his performance against Middlesbrough, one that he marked with a fabulous goal. The youngster picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, showed tremendous balance and skill to fend off and beat several Boro defenders, before firing a powerful curling shot in to the far corner of the net.

In recent months the performances of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and Marcus Rashford has proved that there is plenty of quality at the club at youth level. DJ Buffonge is a player desperate to improve and develop and be given the opportunity to show he is ready for that next level. He has what it takes to be a star.

A diminutive physique, a wand of a left foot and the skill to feint past several defenders in close proximity, Buffonge’s attacking style is reminiscent of the very best in world football. Wearing the no.10 shirt and scoring that goal against Middlesbrough, the 17-year-old gave United fans a glimpse into a very exciting future.

copyright: JW