In an age where footballers can be accused of having too much too soon and being thrust into the spotlight before they are ready, only for their form and ability to then suffer, let’s take a look at three players who have been protected and nurtured by the youth academy at United. As they begin the transition from youth team to reserves and eventually the United first team – or so they hope – let’s see what we can expect from them and what they have achieved so far in their young careers.
Ezekiel Fryers – Only born in 1992, this youngster is making waves at Old Trafford, and for all the right reasons. The versatile left-back is everything you could want in a defender – strong and athletic, not to mention able to get up and down the wing with ease.
After a stop start season last term with injuries, the youngster, who is also able to play at centre back, has made such an impression that in the Carling Cup he was selected to play alongside Carrick at centre half, and performed well, keeping a clean sheet to boot. He then appeared in his favoured position of left –back in the following round against Aldershot, and has even clocked up a champion’s league appearance to his name, replacing Evans late into the game against Galati.
The future looks bright for this young star, and with a ringing endorsement from Rio Ferdinand , who tips him to play for England in 2018, expect to see much more of the youngster.
Paul Pogba – Perhaps the best known of the 3 players here, Pogba has been on the radar for a while now, and is making the transition slowly from the FA youth cup winning team of last season to featuring in both the reserves and the first team. Impressive performances in the Carling Cup meant it was not just the United faithful who became aware of the midfielder.
Described as a cross between Diaby and Viera, the 17 year old is more than capable of scoring the odd wonder goal too, and possesses a range of passing and vision that is beyond a player of such tender years.
The boy is highly regarded by manger Alex Ferguson, who believes there is much to come from an already impressive midfielder and the Frenchman can have real hope over breaking into the first team this season.
Larnell Cole – A player who has caught the eye in a major way this season through Carling Cup action was added – along with Fryers – to the list of squad players for the midweek Champions League game and trained with the first team. Cole is an attacking midfielder by trade, and will occasionally feature on the wing, with the Manchester born player already causing a stir at the young age of 18.
Hailed as a brilliant professional already by Warren Joyce, who commended the player for being willing to spend time at full back to iron out any defensive issues, he looks like really being able to make the difference in tight games.
With 3 caps already for the Under 19s at international level, it is not only United who have taken note of Cole’s potential. Having scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over City’s youth team, oozing class during the game, he has the potential to be not only a fan favourite, but someone who bangs in the goals from midfield.
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