Manchester United may have already uncovered their next homegrown star before the last batch have even had the chance to make a real mark on the club.
Joe Hugill arrived from Sunderland in a £300,000 deal last year and has gone from strength to strength since joining the 20-time English champions.
The 6 foot 2 striker bagged an impressive 16 goals and provided a further three assists in 27 outings for United’s youth sides during his maiden campaign, but one performance in particular really caught the eye.
Despite being just 17-years old, Hugill grabbed the headlines back in February after scoring four goals as United’s U23s thumped bitter rivals Liverpool 6-3 on their own patch.
His quadruple didn’t go unnoticed by Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who lauded the youngster when asked about whether Amad Diallo, who had recently joined in a £37m transfer from Atalanta last month, would get some first-team action soon.
The Norwegian replied: “We’re gonna give him the time to settle in. If we go from that game (vs Liverpool), I’d pick Joe Hugill.
“Four goals by Hugill, he’s a top striker as well, we’re looking forward to seeing his development. Amad gets a good start, and why Joe didn’t take the penalty himself to get five goals, I’m going to ask him.”
Hugill has the chance to follow in the footstep of previous academy graduates such as Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, but it’s another United fans favourite who the teenager resembles more closely.
His devastating finishing, wand of a left foot, tall, lean frame and technical ability all closely resemble that of Robin van Persie, and he’ll be hoping to have a similar impact upon the Old Trafford outfit as the legendary Dutch striker did.
Although he’s not blessed with pace, Hugill has no problem finding the back of the net having done so on four occasions already this season.
Only time will tell if the youngster can succeed the aforementioned stars, but if he continues to progress at his current rate, then it’s surely a matter of when and not if he makes it into Solskjaer’s first-team squad.