Louis van Gaal has a history of putting his faith in young players. At Bayern Munich, Ajax and Barcelona he gave chances to emerging talents, which will serve as a major source of encouragement to some of the starlet’s behind the scenes at Carrington, even though the club are linked with top class stars on an almost daily basis.
And with it being St. George’s Day, what better time than to have a little look at some of these emerging English youngsters? Here are FIVE on the verge of making a first-team breakthrough…
A brief first-team cameo from Thorpe against West Ham earlier this season shows that he’s well and truly in Louis van Gaal’s plans. The young defender was parachuted into the squad amid a flurry of defensive injuries and handled himself well during his, albeit brief, outing.
At 22, the clock is ticking for Thorpe, and a loan stint at Birmingham last year hasn’t really helped his cause, but LVG has shown a willingness to give youngsters a chance, so he may get the minutes he needs.
17-years-of-age and thought of as one of the finest youngsters in the United set-up, Mitchell can play. A pacey winger – who is also able to play up front – the teenager has been lauded for his ability to beat his man and is thought of as a ‘game changer’ in the club’s youth sides.
He may be a bit young now, but with cup and European games to balance next season, Van Gaal could look to thread him into the team slowly.
A 20-year-old midfielder who has been likened to Paul Scholes… not bad, then! Pearson’s main strength is his passing ability, which he has been showing in League One during a loan spell with Barnsley, but his tendency to arrive late in the box and support attacks is another key trait in his game.
Caps at every England youth level between U-16 and U-20 suggests he has what it takes to succeed, and he could get chances with Michael Carrick’s advancing years set to catch up with him.
Not as such a ‘breakthrough’ player, Wilson has already made an impact in the United first-team. He netted his first goals last term and has since been Van Gaal’s fourth choice striker, but next term could be a promising one for him. Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao’s futures are uncertain and with LVG knowingly a fan of Wayne Rooney in midfield, Wilson may be the club’s only option… unless they sign players again this summer.
Fast and clinical, the 19-year-old has a bit of a young Michael Owen vibe about his game.
A cultured centre-back on the ball, but fierce when tackling, Borthwick-Jackson is thought of highly behind the scenes at United. Manchester born and bred, the 18-year-old has been with the club throughout his childhood and is sure to be a favourite with Old Trafford supporters if he can make the leap to the first-team.
Left-footed and able to function at full-back, the teenager looks to be a top prospect.