U18 Player Ratings – 2018/19 Season: Mason Greenwood stole the show whilst the likes of Arnau Puigmal, Ethan Laird and James Garner excite

Manchester United U18s season ended in the last few weeks with the club finishing fourth in the U18 Premier League with 12 wins, seven draws and three defeats, scoring 60 goals in the competition alone, finishing just one point behind Everton, who finished third in the league. Granted, there will be a challenge for United in this league next season and they may have to do so without the likes of Mason Greenwood and James Garner, amongst others.

At this level, United also reached the semi-final stage of the U18 Premier League Cup, beating the Newcastle United (1-0), Norwich City (3-0), Chelsea (3-0), and Liverpool (3-2 AET) but falling to a 3-0 defeat against Manchester City. They also reached the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, beating Chelsea 4-3 in the third round but falling to a 3-1 defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion in the fourth round.

U18 coach Neil Ryan will be pleased with his squad this season as quite a few players stood out, around 10 of which will be too old for this level next season, already turning 18, so they should move up to the U23 squad for the upcoming season. That will leave Ryan with a young team, effectively starting again.

Here are the player ratings for the entire 2018/19 season for each player to have represented United at least once in any of the competitions the club has played in; U18 Premier League, U18 Premier League Cup, FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League. All ratings are out of ten stars; five being the level all players start out at during each game. If the player rates over five stars, they are doing well, less than five, they are not doing so well.

Jacob Carney: The 18-year-old made seven appearances this season, conceding 14 goals, failing to keep a single clean sheet. After making his debut at this level in the first match this season, he spent a period of time with Bury on a youth loan. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alex Fojticek: The 19-year-old Slovakian goalkeeper made just seven appearances for United at this level this season, conceding 11 goals and keeping two clean sheets. Now too old for this league, Fojticek will move up to the U23 level, where he made his debut in January 2019. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

James Thompson: The 18-year-old English goalkeeper played the most matches at this level, starting 15 times. However, he conceded 26 goals but kept the most clean sheets – five. Still eligible to play at this level next season, Thompson could be the first-choice goalkeeper, however, Neil Ryan may look to give a younger player a chance to shine. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ethan Laird: The right-back come left-back has made a total of 16 appearances at both U18 and U19 level this season, scoring twice and also assisting nine goals. The 17-year-old is still eligible to play at this level next season but also made his U23 debut last season so there could be scope for him to move up a level. Laird is quick, over short distances and as his stats show, he can get forward and provide for the attacking players. It will be good to see more of him in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Brandon Williams: The 18-year-old right-back, although he can play on the left, will move up a level after this season. He made 28 appearances at U18 and U19 level, scoring four goals and assisting a further four, which is pretty good for a fullback. Williams made his U23 debut in February and will feature in that squad next season. Hopefully, he will continue to prove himself as United need additional fullbacks in the first team, so there is something for him to aim for in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Iestyn Hughes: The 16-year-old right-back is one of the younger players at this level this season, making three appearances, two from the bench, got an assist against Derby County, a match which United won 2-1 – coming from behind. The Welsh starlet will most likely play at this level next season as he will turn 17 in September. He has a good future ahead of him and I look forward to seeing more from him. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Di’Shon Bernard: The 18-year-old central defender has played his last matches at this level this season, playing 25 times at both U18 and U19 level, scoring five goals. He was sent off against Liverpool at U18 level in February, making his U23 debut during the same month. The player his highly-rated at the club and will be looking to continue on the same path, maybe even catching the eye of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the next few seasons. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ben Hockenhull: The 17-year-old central defender has been at United for the last eight years and was one of the younger players at this level during the past season. He made a total of six appearances, starting two of them, but did not score a single goal or add an assist. It is safe to say that this coming season will be more important for him and Neil Ryan, as many players will be moving up to the U23s. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Oliver Denham: This was his debut season at this level and we did not really see much of him. He made one start and also another off the bench. At 17, this was his first experience at U18 level and the central defender will most likely have a bigger chance next season, probably starting more matches and well on the way to becoming an experienced member of this team. The future could be very bright for him and I am sure that everyone will be looking forward to seeing what he can do. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Teden Mengi: The versatile defender, who can also play in midfield, made 21 appearances at U18 level this season, failing to score a single goal but provided a total of four assists. This was the second season at this level for the 17-year-old and as he does not turn 18 until next April, he should be eligible to play at this level for another season but will be a player that an eye is kept on as he will need to move up to the U23s at some point. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reece Devine: The 17-year-old left back has made 17 appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, assisting one goal. The player has previously played for both Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in his short career and will be looking to kick on at this club. Still able to play for the U18s next season, although there will be no U19 football, he could stake a claim to his place in the squad as many players will be leaving this group this summer, heading to the U23s. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lukasz Bejger: The Polish central defender made seven appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, assisting one goal. Signed from Lech Poznan (the club that Manchester City supporters got their goal celebration from) he received international clearance in September and promptly made his debut. He turned 17 in January so will have another season at this level, in which he will be looking to make a name for himself. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

James Garner: The 18-year-old central midfielder made 15 appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, also playing at U23 and first team level, which is something he will want more of. Garner scored twice, once for the U18s and once for the U19s, assisting two goals at this level also. This season will have been a big one for him, playing for United during the pre-season tour and showing so much ability, also impressing both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aliou Traore: The 18-year-old French midfielder has probably played his last football for the U18s this season, although he could still be eligible next season. He made a total of 30 appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, scoring four goals and assisting a further nine. The player has previously played for Paris Saint-Germain and Sarcelles. The player is a talent at the club, in his second season, and has already played U23 football, so he has a good future ahead of him. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dylan Levitt: The Welsh central midfielder has played a lot of football at this level over the last two seasons. This season, he has played 25 times at U18 and U19 level, scoring seven goals and a further eight assists. He also made his U23 debut this season, scoring his first goal for the team in February. He clearly has a lot to offer this club and will most likely move up to the U23s this coming season, continuing his rise to stardom. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dion McGhee: The 18-year-old attacking midfielder completed his third season at this level, making 22 appearances at U18 and U19 level, scoring four goals. The player only scored his first goal for the club this season and also made his U23 debut in January. His time at U18 level is probably over now and he could see himself being challenged to earn a place in the U23s squad. As an attacking midfielder, he can be the playmaker ins the team and also has the ability to find space behind the opposition defenders. Dion McGhee is a name you will hear more from next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

D’Mani Bughail-Mellor: The 18-year-old will be 19 just after the new seasons starts his time at this level is now over. He’s made a total of 20 appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, scoring five goals and two assists. He made his U23 debut this season, scoring his first goal in February. He can play in a number of positions in the attacking midfielder role, whether through the middle of wide, also behind the striker or even as the striker. He could be a name we hear more of next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ethan Galbraith: The 18-year-old midfielder from Northern Ireland made a total of 24 appearances at U18 level this season, scoring four goals and a further four assists. He also made his debut at U23 level in February, presumably getting him ready for the jump up to that level next season. He could well be a player for the future and is highly-rated at the club. This next season, playing at U23 level, could decide his future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Arnau Puigmal: The 18-year-old Spaniard has made a total of 24 appearances for the U18s and U19s this season, starting at right-back, scoring two goals and six assists. Over the past week the central midfielder has been training with the first team, which could suggest his future could be something special. He’s yet to make his U23s debut but could still feature at this level for a period next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Charlie McCann: The 17-year-old signed from Coventry City in the summer and made his debut for the U18s this season, making 23 appearances and scoring five goals and a further three assists. McCann is a ball playing central midfielder who can also cover at fullback, which is good for the future at this level. There is certainly more to come from him at this level next season and he will be looking to make his U23 debut during his second season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Harvey Neville: The son of United Class of 92 graduate Phil Neville joined United from Valencia last summer. He has played a total of seven times in the U18s and U19s this season and is yet to score or assist a goal for his new club. He has previously played for Manchester City. Neville is a winger who can also play a central role. Many will be hoping for more from the 16-year-old next season although he turns 17 in just over a month. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mark Helm: The 17-year-old made a total of eight appearances at U18 and U19 level this season, scoring a single goal. The central midfielder will be looking to play more football next season at this level. He made his debut and scored his first goal in the same game. With many players moving up to the U23s next season, perhaps it will give the player the chance to make a name for himself at this level. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Max Haygarth: The 17-year-old central midfielder made one substitute appearance for the U18s this season after joining the squad in July 2018. He has had a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury which saw him only able to make his debut in February. Next season will be a big one for him, still able to play at this level and aiming to show his ability at this level in order to move up to the U23s, if it all works out for him. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Connor Stanley: The young winger made ten appearances at U18 level this season, six of those being from the bench. The 17-year-old was previously at Birmingham City but moved to United last summer. He is yet to score a goal or lay on an assist but in his debut season, it was a lot to ask for, especially when you take into account that he’s made few appearances. Next season could be his time. He also made his debut for the U23s in February, coming off the bench. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ayodeji Sotona: The young winger, known for his speed and trickery made just one substitute appearance at U18 level this season and is still yet to score a goal and provide an assist. The player is eligible to represent both Ireland and Nigeria, although he has played for Ireland at U16 level already. There is certainly more to come from this lad and he could be one to watch out for next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Largie Ramazani: The 18-year-old Belgian winger played a total of 22 times at U18 and U19 level this season, scoring just once with seven assists. He made his U23 debut in January, also scoring his first goal at that level in March. He will not represent United at this level next season and will be seeking to impress those at the higher level, possibly seeking to break into the first team under Solskjaer, maybe not next season though – who knows. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shola Shoretire: One of the youngest player to make an appearance at this level this season at 15-years-old. Shola Shoretire is an attacking midfielder/forward who seems to prefer playing through the middle but can perform in the wide positions. He only made his debut at this level in March, coming off the bench. There is so much more to come from this young lad. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Anthony Elanga: The young Swedish international made a total of 23 appearances at U18 and U23 level this season, scoring a total of four goals and five assists, all within the U18 level. The player can play as a winger or an attacking midfielder and has shown his ability. At 17, he could still feature at this level next season but made his U23 debut earlier this year, so could be an option for Ricky Sbragia’s side also, which will be great to see. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mipo Odubeko: The schoolboy made two appearances at U18 level this season, scoring one goal. He obviously has a big future ahead of him. His rise into the youth ranks from schoolboy level will be watched by many as the player seems to have the ability which will help propel him in the game. Looking forward to seeing more from him next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mason Greenwood: The 17-year-old made only 18 appearances in all competitions at this level this season but scored 22 goals, adding a further nine assists to his tally. Greenwood also played in the UEFA Youth League (U19s) this season, making five appearances, scoring five goals and one assist, which shows his talent in this team. Although he will still be eligible to play at this level next season, a place in the first team or at least the U23s will be more likely. I would personally like to see his sent straight to the first team. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It may not have been a celebratory season for this age group but they have achieved a lot. Many will move upwards to the U23 level and will be looking to forge their careers at the club for the long-term. There will be some who make it but others that will not. There are also players in this group who are just starting out at a professional level and will be raring to go ahead of the new season, after a long summer break, of course. Here’s to another season of exciting youth football.

Ratings: Tahith Chong scored a spectacular goal in an evening of disappointment

Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford on Monday evening at the hands of Southampton, who had not won a match in three months. Tahith Chong, a second half substitute scored the opening goal of the match on the 64th minute with a stunning strike, but in the last eight minutes of the match, the visitors scored twice out of nowhere to stun the home side, who could not get back into the match. United were destined for big things this season after scoring 43 goals in the league this season, many expected a big result at the Theatre of Dreams this evening, but it just was not meant to be. United now find themselves challenging in the league only this season, needing to peg Manchester City back, who currently top the league, four points and a game in hand over United. The U18’s and coach Kieran McKenna will rue their chances against the South Coast side, who were dominated for much of the match. Angel Gomes could have scored in the first half, with Lee O’Connor rattling the crossbar before Gomes’ chance on goal. United will face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday morning, their last match of 2016.

Goals: Tahith Chong 64′

Assists: Jake Kenyon 64′

Manchester United: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, Warren, O’Connor, Kenyon (Burkart); Hamilton, Whelan; Buffonge (Chong), Gribbin (Boonen), Gomes; Bohui

Substitutes Not Used: Dunne, Fojticek, Barlow

Bookings: Ethan Hamilton 78′

Manchester United

Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui

Seldom needed in the first half of the match. Confident in his area when called upon. Very little for him to do. Unlucky to concede twice in the final eight minutes.


George Tanner

Decent display in defence for the youngster. Did well to get forward at times, helped his teammates under pressure.


Tyrell Warren

Commanding in his area, got forward with his teammates, brilliant in his distribution. Nowhere to be seen when Southampton scored, twice.


Lee O’Connor

Hit the crossbar in the first half. Played some good football at times. One of the best players on the pitch this evening. Caught out when Southampton scored, twice.


Jake Kenyon

Did all he could do against United. Got forward at times, helped defend, although that was not needed for much of the match. Replaced by Burkart wit United training.


Ethan Hamilton

Had a good match, got forward, could not capitalise against his opposition and United were hard done by with their chances. Unlucky to not be revelling this evening.


Callum Whelan

Did what he needed to do throughout the match. Helped his team dominate the opposition, although it did not do them all that good, being knocked out after United conceded twice in the final eight minutes of the match.


DJ Buffonge

Had a good match playing on the right-wing instead of in the midfield. Attacked and helped create chanced for United, none of which changed the game.


Callum Gribbin

Starting to find his feet again after a period of injury, despite scoring four goals this season. Got forward, pressured the visitors at times.


28 Angel Gomes

Great player. Massive ability on and off the ball. Unlucky to not have scored. Creater of the team, brillianf to see his movement in the game. Future start, maybe.


Joshua Bohui

Unlucky not to find an equaliser at the end of the second half. Helped dominate Southampton, who took their chance in the dying minutes of the match, twice.



Tahith Chong

Replaced Buffonge. Scored a stunning goal to put United ahead, but that in itself was not good enough after Southampton scored twice in the final eight minutes of the match.


Indy Boonen

Replaced Gribbin. Tried to help his team use their advantage to gain something. Was tricky on the ball at times. Some good periods of play.


Nishan Burkart

Replaced Kenyon. Came on in the dying minutes. Just did not have the time to get involved.


Report: Manchester United out of the FA Youth Cup at the hands of Southampton

Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday night. Tahith Chong, after coming on as a substitute out United ahead in the 64th minute of the match with a stunning effort, but Southampton scored twice to earn a place in the next round in the final minutes of the match. United had high hopes in this competition this season, after finding their feet in the league, scoring 43 goals this season in true Manchester United style. Some things are not meant to be, I guess.

Kieran McKenna started a strong side against Southampton in the FA Youth Cup with Angel Gomes, Callum Gribbin, Joshua Bohui and DJ Buffonge playing in the front four, which is a vert attacking lineup. The likes of Tahith Chong and Nishan Burkart were left on the bench, with them available should they be needed. Indy Boonen, who was on the bench for the U23’s against Chelsea on Friday was not named in the squad, which was a shame. United started the match well against the South Coast side, who have not won a match for three months, which suggests they are not a very good side, so United should come away with the victory and progress into the next round.

United were pushing from the start to take advantage of their visitors, playing some good football and dominating the South Coast side. After 22 minutes, the score was still 0-0 and the referee blew for a challenge on a Southampton player, who was booked for simulation. The whistle was blown so quickly, it could have easily been a penalty. United then seemed to slow the game down, possibly struggling to break their opposition. A break in the match came with United on the attack through Bohui, who won a corner. United then could have taken the lead through Gomes, but his shot was off target.

Just after the half hour, United again had a chance to take the lead through Lee O’Connor and Angel Gomes on the rebound. O’Connor hit the post and Gomes was not on target once again. United were the ones in possession of the chances, but so far had been unlucky in front of goal. Southampton then got the ball into United’s area, failing to capitalse themselves. With ten minutes of the first half remaining, United really needed to start trying to take ownership of the game, finding a goal to see them through. United played some good football in the final ten minutes, pinning Southampton into their own half and penalty area, with United so far failing to break.

United ended that half with another shot on goal, which saw the young Red Devils being awarded a corner, which amounted to nothing either. United were certainly on top in terms of creativity and possession of the ball, also spending much of the half on the attack with little return. The important factor was that United had so far failed to score, which needs to change, or this could be a long night. Southampton seem like a disciplinary time bomb waiting to explode – perhaps United could use that in their favour against the side who have gone three months without winning a match. The first half ended 0-0.

The second half started with Southampton vying to take charge of the match, keeping United in their own half for periods of the first ten minutes, having a few free-kicks, but taking them badly with United gaining possession and attacking themselves. Kieran McKenna readied Tahith Chong to come on for the home side, giving some fresh legs, pace and ability on the ball, which might thwart this tires Southampton side. United had a period of pressure before Chong replaced DJ Buffonge with Bohui having a shot on goal, which was wide of the target. United were now looking to get something from this game, something which had been a challenge so far.

In the 64th minute of the match, after some good play from United, Tahith Chong scored a spectacular left-footed goal after turning on the ball. United were off the mark and the Southampton side looked dejected in a way that they knew they were not going to comeback from going one goal down. United continued to dominate the match, keeping hold of the ball and looking for that second goal, which would kill the game no doubt. United got through on goal through Callum Gribbin, who went down in the box, but nothing was given. It was the end of the match for Gribbin, who was replaced by Indy Boonen, who was not on the team sheet this evening.

Southampton found themselves back in the match n the 83rd minute levelling the score out of nothing, celebrating like they had won the World Cup, bless them. United now needed to kill this game off in the final seven minutes of the match, or face extra time. United immediately went on the attack with Boonen weaving through the Southampton players looking for a chance to have his shot on goal, that never came with him passing to an advancing Callum Whelan, who fired towards goal and was wide of the mark, unfortunately. Southampton took the lead minutes later, leading the match with minutes remaining. United looked to be out of the FA Youth Cup.

United, needing an equaliser to force extra time were advancing with Bohui having a chance to level the score, but the keeper kept the ball out of the net, giving United a corner, which came to nothing. Time was running out, United needed to throw everything at their opposition, but were being picked off, losing the ball and could have conceded a third goal, but luckily didn’t. United made their third change of the evening with Nishan Burkart replacing Jake Kenyon. The Southampton striker needed some treatment, which will add some time at the end of the match, with United still needing something to level the score. Manchester United are out of the FA Youth Cup.

Goals: Tahith Chong 64′

Assists: Jake Kenyon 64′

Manchester United: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, Warren, O’Connor, Kenyon (Burkart); Hamilton, Whelan; Buffonge (Chong), Gribbin (Boonen), Gomes; Bohui

Substitutes Not Used: Dunne, Fojticek, Barlow

Bookings: Ethan Hamilton 78′

CONFIRMED: Gomes, Gribbin and Buffonge start against Southampton

Manchester United face Southampton in the FA Youth Cup this evening at Old Trafford. Kieran McKenna’s U18 squad are in good form this season, scoring 43 goals in the Premier League U18, conceding just 23, which is much better than last season. The club currently sits second in the league, four points shy of leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand over their local rivals, so sit in the driving seat to retain their league title this season. United will not give up though, knowing that they drew against City, who are a beatable team this season. Southampton are a poor side this season, not currently doing well in the league, but in a cup competition, all of that goes out of the window. Angel Gomes is United top scorer with eight goals this season assisting a further six, which sees him as the creator figure in the team. The likes of Indy Boonen, Tahith Chong, Nishan Burkart and Callum Gribbin have also done well both creating and scoring goals, so this should be an entertaining match at the Theatre of Dreams this evening. Here are the starting XI and list of substitutes for both teams this evening.

Manchester United:


Tanner, Warren, O’Connor, Kenyon;

Hamilton, Whelan;

Buffonge, Gribbin, Gomes;



Dunne, Fojticek, Chong, Barlow, Burkart



Valery, O’Driscoll, Klarer, Vokins;

Rowthorm, Slattery;

Mdlalose, O’Connor, Johnson;



Smallbone, A. Cull, Hale, Hamblin, Davis

Preview: U18’s to aim for glory in the FA Youth Cup against Southampton

Old Trafford, Manchester

FA Youth Cup 2016/17

Monday 12th December 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U18’s commence their journey in the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford this evening, entertaining one-time finalists Southampton. Kieran McKenna’s U18’s side have been playing some great football in the Premier League U18 this season, sitting second in the table, four points adrift Manchester City, who still have a game in hand over United. The side has been free-scoring this season, finding the back of the net 43 times, conceding just 23 times. Angel Gomes is the club’s top scorer at this level with eight goals this season, also assisting in a further six goals, which is a good record for the youngster. Both DJ Buffonge and Indy Boonen have scored six goals this season, with Boonen assisting four times and Buffonge assisting five times. Goals are something this talented side can score regularly, which is something the U23’s are struggling to do this season without an out-and-out striker.

United have many talented players in the U18’s this season, RoShaun Williams and Callum Gribbin will also be likely to be involved, with the former playing the last match for the U18’s and the latter being involved for both the U18 and U23’s since his return from injury this season. Kieran McKenna, the U18 coach has spoken to the official Manchester United website ahead of tonight’s match, saying:

“I was very aware, even from the outside, that United have a big tradition in the competition. Right from the Busby Babes. I think everyone knows that from the outside and you get a greater feeling of how important it is for everyone and how proud everybody is of the record in it.

“It’s something the players are aware of, but not too aware so to remove some of the burden of pressure, but we know we want to go out and put on our best performance.

“It’s fantastic the game is at Old Trafford and a big thanks to the club for enabling us to do that because I think it adds massively to the occasion. It is what the FA Youth Cup is all about really, getting some of the most talented youth players on the biggest stage possible to see how they cope with that. Playing in stadiums under pressure, for some of the players, is a great experience and, for others, maybe a lifetime experience they will never forget.

“Obviously, it’s a tough draw. Southampton have a really strong academy as well but, to do well in the tournament, you have to face some good sides and knock out some good sides. So, to have a home draw against another very successful academy is something we’re pleased with and, to be honest, we’ll relish playing against a good side like that.”

Manchester United have won the FA Youth Cup ten times, playing in 14 finals. The first five years in the youth tournament, United dominated winning the cup from 1953 right through to 1957. Then United took seven years to lift the cup again, in 1964, winning it for the sixth time in the club’s history. Twenty-eight years passed before the Class of 92′ won the cup, in 1992, then United won it again in 1995. Eight years passed before lifting the cup once again in 2003, with another eight years passing before winning it for the tenth time in 2011. United were the runners-up in 1982, 1986, 1993, and 2007. Obviously, the well-known winners of the cup will be from the Busby Babes era with David Pegg, Albert Scanlon, Bill Whelan, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Wilf McGuinness, Bobby Charlton, Shay Brennan, Kenny Morgans and many others. Then came the likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Chris Casper, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Robbie Savage et al in the 1990’s. The most recent FA Youth Cup victory in 2011 saw the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Sam Johnstone, Ravel Morrison and Will Keane, among others. Three of those players are still at the club today – one being a world record signing.

Manchester United U18 Squad:

Manager: Kieran McKenna

Goalkeepers: Alex Fojticek, Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui, Max Johnstone

Defenders: Ro-Shaun Williams, Harry Spratt, Jake Barrett, Lee O’Connor, Luca Ercolani, Max Dunne, Tyrell Warren, Thomas Sang,

Midfielders: Aiden Barlow, Andre Gomes, Callum Whelan, DJ Buffonge, Callum Gribbin, Ethan Hamilton, Faustin Makela, Indy Boonen, Jake Kenyon, Zachary Dearnley

Forwards: George Tanner, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts, Josh Bohui, Nishan Burkart, Tahith Chong

Southampton U18 Squad:

Manager: Craig Fleming

Goalkeepers: Neal Osborn, Adam Parkes, Alex Cull

Defenders: Benn Cull, Connor Langan, Yan Valery, Ben Rowthorn, Javen Siu, Jake Vokins, Kieran Freeman, Oliver Gardner, Jamie Bradley-Green, Aaron O’Driscoll, Christoph Klarer

Midfielders: Rugare Musendo, Archie Thomas, Callum Slattery, Thomas O’Connor, Tyreke Johnson, Siph Mdlalose, Harry Hamblin, Harrison Davis, Will Smallbone, Harlem Hale, 

Forwards: Dan N’Lundulu, Jonathan Afolabi, Michael Obafemi

Manchester United U18 Top Scorers:

8 – Angel Gomes, 6 – DJ Buffonge, Indy Boonen, 5 –  Callum Gribbin, 3 – Nishan Burkart, Tahith Chong, 2 – Aiden Barlow, Joshua Bohui, Idris Kanu, 1 – Jake Barrett, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts, Faustin Makela, Lee O’Connor, George Tanner, Tyrell Warren

Southampton U18 Top Scorers:

4 – Tyreke Johnson, Siph Mdlalose, Will Smallbone, 2 – Michael Obafemi, 1 – Harlem Hale, Dan N’Lundulu, Ben Rowthorn, Callum Slattery

Manchester United U18 Form:- DWDWW

Manchester City 2-2 D, Derby County 4-0 W, Liverpool 3-3 D, Newcastle United 4-0 W, Blackburn Rovers 4-1 W

Southampton U18 Form:- DLLDL

Aston Villa 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 6-2 L, Chelsea 4-1 L, Swansea City 1-1 D, Fulham 3-0 L

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 4-0 Southampton

Editorial: Manchester United U18’s worthy of FA Youth Cup run after fantastic start this season?

Manchester United found out their opposition for the third round of the FA Youth Cup this season; they will face Southampton at home on Saturday 17th December 2016, just over a week before Christmas. United last had a run in the FA Youth Cup back in the 2011/12 season, getting to the semi-final and being beaten 3-2 by Chelsea. The previous season [2010/11] United lifted the trophy with the likes of Sam Johnstone, Michael Keane, Ravel Morrison, Will Keane, Paul Pogba, the most expensive player in the world today, Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett, among others. United have lifted the FA Youth Cup more times than any other team, on a total of ten occasions, finishing as runners-up on four occasions, the last time in 2007. Chelsea, the current holders are quickly catching up with United, after lifting the trophy seven times, being the runners-up on three occasions.

United’s U18 side has gone through a season of transition, losing twelve league matches in a row last season and struggling to score goals, despite playing well at times. This season, they seem to have no problems scoring goals, or getting the victories they set out for, with many talented players making up the team, along with players who went through last season, which also saw the end of Paul McGuinness, who left the club before the end of the season. Kieran McKenna, the new man in charge of the U18, under the watchful eye of Class of 92 graduate and head of the Academy, Nicky Butt. In the summer, United made several new additions to the squad with Tahith Chong, Nishan Burkart, Joshua Bohui, Lee O’Connor, and Alex Fojticek all signing for the United Academy. Angel Gomes, Indy Boonen, DJ Buffonge and many others were involved last season, but not as much as they have been this season. Butt and McKenna seem to have found a winning formula.

This season, United have played 12 matches, including the 4-0 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday 12th November. United have won eight matches, drawing once and losing just three times. Scoring goals seems to be something United do not have problems with at this level, winning by scoring five goals on four occasions, scoring four goals twice, last scoring only two goals at the start of October, which is pretty good form. In total, United have scored 37 goals, more than their entire total in the league last season, conceding 21 goals in total. United sit in second place of the Premier League U18, a point behind holders Manchester City, who still have two games in hand. City are one of three teams to beat United this season, with Derby County and Liverpool the other two. United faced Liverpool at the weekend at this level, playing well and despite some questionable refereeing, a 3-3 draw was obtained, making it a better performance against the Scouse side since they last met at the start of the season.

The quick transition of United, based on last season, gives renewed confidence in the side, which were the worst Manchester United team last season, with the first team and the U23’s coming behind them this season. Things need to change for the U23’s, who face Sunderland in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village this evening, led by Nicky Butt after Warren Joyce left the club during the three-week break. Tonight could be a good occasion for Butt, who made his Manchester United debut on this day back in 1992. United’s U18’s seem to be a great team in the making, having made some ground on their disappointing season last term, showing Manchester City, whose Academy has been lauded, yet does not seem to be producing talent worthy of their star-studded first team, which is a question in itself – is their Academy really that good?

United’s U18 have seen the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcus Rashford and even Axel Tuanzebe either represent the first team, or play in a pre-season friendly this year, which will give them the right attitude to search for their own stardom through the ranks at the club. The U23’s could do with an injection of talent in their squad this season, which will benefit these talented youngsters, providing they are ready of course. The present might be frustrating for Manchester United, at least in the first team sense, but the future is looking very much satisfying with the fast attacking talent currently gracing the pitch in the Academy.

copyright: JW