Michael Carrick has told Manchester United’s rising stars to always be prepared now that they have made their first team breakthrough.
The 34-year-old has been impressed by the contributions of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson after they made their debuts following injuries to regulars.
Carrick, who won the FA Youth Cup with West Ham in 1998-99 and made his first team debut months later, had particular encouragement for 18-year-old defender Fosu-Mensah who made his bow in the 3-2 win over Arsenal in February, while also featuring against Watford and West Brom.
“When you get your chance, you have got to do your best and then be ready for when it comes again,” he said.
“It might not be the week after, it might be a month down the line, so it is just about being patient and keeping your feet on the ground.
“The world is at your feet when you are starting your career and everything is ahead of them. Hopefully they can all go on to have good careers.”
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Good careers certainly, but probably not with Manchester United. At the present time, a few youngsters have come through, but mainly due to injuries to regular first team players. The history of Manchester United is littered with players that did make it, but many more didn’t and have now made lives for themselves away from the hallowed turf at Old Trafford.
These days in the Premier League, each team needs and wants success like it was yesterday. Because of this mentality and the impatience of the fans for that success, teams need to buy in ready to play, quality, experienced players. These recruits from all over the world, often mediocre at best, take the place of the youngster who is then forced to sit and wait or to move on in search of better first team opportunities.
With a new manager imminent at United this summer, it could signal a time for promising youngsters to consider their next footballing steps. If it’s Mourinho, then he isn’t particularly known for giving youth its chance and a place on the bench or in the stands is the best they can hope for.
This crop of youngsters have shone when given the chance. Marcus Rashford has been rewarded for his performances with a call-up for the England U20 squad for the game against Canada at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium. The teenager is joined by fellow United striker Ashley Fletcher, who is on loan Barnsley.
Borthwick-Jackson, who is back in training, is in Aidy Boothroyd’s U19 squad for a triple-header in the European Championship Elite Round qualifiers with Georgia, Greece and Spain. Ro-Shaun Williams, who was on the bench for the Emirates FA Cup draw with West Ham United last weekend, is in the U18 squad for the clashes with Austria and Republic of Ireland.
One look at United’s 2011 youth cup winning team goes to prove that 90% of their youth players move on. In that team is the one that got away – Paul Pogba. How they wished they hadn’t sold him. Pogba was regarded as one of United’s brightest young talents but he left the club for Juventus in 2012 after falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson over a lack of playing time.
The Frenchman has emerged as one of the world’s leading midfielders at Juve, where he has won three Serie A titles and reached the Champions League final last season. Now an established France international, Pogba is valued at around £70m.
Rashford, Borthwick-Jackson, Fosu-Mensah, Fletcher and Williams are breaking through with striker James Wilson gaining experience at Brighton.
Are these the new class of 92 or will we find them in two years time playing elsewhere?