Marcus Rashford was barely known outside of Manchester just a few days ago. But, the 18-year-old has now netted three goals since last Thursday night, with his double against Arsenal extremely encouraging.
His debut at home to FC Midtjylland on Thursday came in rather fortuitous circumstances as Anthony Martial limped out of the warm-up, but the teenager has certain seized his opportunity, and could well feature regularly between now and the end of the season – after all, he’s Louis van Gaal’s only fit option up top right now!
In truth, Rashford is not the only youngster to have been thrown in by LVG this term. Although the Dutchman has his faults, he has been happy to blood young players with injuries having hit his side hard this term – something that probably wouldn’t have happened under, say… Jose Mourinho!
So, with the striker tearing it up in Manchester, will any more of his academy chums follow him into the first-team? Well, here are FIVE great hopes.
United fans got their first glimpse of Fosu-Mensah on Sunday as he came on for the final 35 minutes against Arsenal.
Although Rashford, naturally, stole the headlines at Old Trafford, the 18-year-old slotted in with little fuss as the Red Devils battled hard for the win – Mesut Ozil’s goal went in with him on the pitch, but it’s hard to directly attribute that to the teenager.
The Dutchman is rated highly in Manchester after being signed from Ajax and seems to be ahead of many of his fellow academy stars after a solid first year and a bit in the junior teams. Fosu-Mensah can play at either centre-back or as a holding midfielder.
18-years-of-age and physically imposing, Tuanzebe is a centre-back with much promise.
Having won the club’s Young Player of the Year award last season, the defender is expected to go on to big things, and with Van Gaal’s defensive ranks having been heavily depleted in recent weeks, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him thrown in at some stage in the not too distant future.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tuanzebe moved to England as a youngster, growing up in Rochdale, and has been with United for around 10 years.
A neat and tidy central midfielder whose slick passing has already drawn tentative comparisons with Michael Carrick, Goss seems to be highly-rated by Van Gaal.
Indeed, the 20-year-old was a part of the pre-season American tour, even coming on as a sub in the last game against Paris Saint-Germain, despite the arrivals of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Goss is not a Red Devils product per se – he was signed from Exeter in 2012 – but is already a talent appreciated by regular waters of the youth sides.
Signed from Newport County right at the end of last summer, the 17-year-old centre-back has since been around the fringes of the United first-team, making his debut against FC Midtjylland as a last minute substitute in the second leg of the club’s Europa League clash with the Danes.
Prior to moving to Manchester, Poole was a first-team player in the south of Wales after making his first outing at the age of 16 in League Two.
Physically speaking the teenager is not quite there for Premier League action just yet, but Van Gaal has shown a willingness to try relatively untested defenders – partially due to injuries – so a run out is not out of question this season, yet 2016/17 seems to be a more realistic target.
Many believe Gribbin is the most technically adept player in United’s academy set-up right now, with the 17-year-old’s skills on the wing having already earned him some first-team recognition under Van Gaal – he was a part of senior training ahead of the pre-season tour of America last year.
Naturally, the rookie is unlikely to be able to cope with the physical nature of first-team football right now, but League Cup run-outs next season may be targeted, depending on who’s in charge at Old Trafford.