On the pitch it was a frustrating few years for Manchester United Academy. The Under-33s took an embarrassing refuge from the Premier League’s top flight in 2011/18 and the Under-1s continued to fight in the FA Youth Cup.
The production line slowed down, but when it made players it gained trend as a gem and how you judge an academy was heartbreaking, as Gary Neville told MEN on Monday.
“At United, they were hilarious but in the last five years they have produced [Scott] McTomonay, [Marcus] Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood and Williams, it’s incredible, ”he said.
“Every few years in a row this player has made a huge output. With four players on your first-team squad and two of them potentially ranging from 80 80 to 100 100 million, you’re talking about a huge star who could save the club’s fortunes. “
Neville got the first hand on Wednesday when United’s promising under-1 side hit sixes in six of their EFL Trophy in Salford City, a result that has improved recently, even though it was an inexperienced Emerys team.
Under Neil Wood, United’s development has returned to the top of Premier League 2 and reached the Youth Cup semifinals before the Under-1s were suspended last season.
Four players such as Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebi have spoken of Neville as the first team of Oli Gunnar Solskazir this season. Add Jesse Lingard (currently) and Paul Pogba, and eight senior players who have joined United through this squad.
The good news is that the conveyor belt is once again in operation. Hannibal Maysbury, 1, Anthony Elanga and Teden Mengi, 18-year-old and 19-year-old James Garner were all involved in Salford’s win and felt they had a real chance to make the grade. So right-back Ethan Laird, who missed out on the win, is already looking very unlikely for Aaron One-Biscay.
The talent is there again for United. In the junior age group, Shola Shoreretti and Dillon Hughwarf are eye-catching. New signer Isaac Hansen-Aroen is already fascinated at the academy, coming in at less than three weeks old when he was 16 years old. He played first-team football for Tromso as a 15-year-old in early summer.
Now part of the academy’s approach is to sign the best talent from Europe. Hansen-Aroen came from Tramso, Maybury from Monaco, and Hughworf from Ajax. This summer, United have signed 116-year-olds from Atletico Madrid, Alejandro Garanacho, Barcelona’s Mark Mark Jurado and Real Madrid’s 17-year-old Alvaro Fernandez.
United have signed 16-year-old Hugil and Logan Pike from Sunderland, as well as 16-year-old Czech Republic goalkeeper Radek Vitek from Sigma Olomouk.
Add those imports to indigenous talents like Mengi, Garner and Laird, and it’s clear that the talent is flourishing again at the United Academy.
But having talent is one thing. You also need a director to believe it and that’s exactly what Solskazar United needs. On Wednesday night, he told the five directly: “It was always on our minds that our academy would supply players.”
They have already provided players for him. It was Solskazar who promoted Williams and Greenwood, who had faith in McTomney, who gave Henderson and Tuanzeb a place in the squad after successful loans. The Norwegians returned to Mengi in August against Lask Linz and spoke out about him this week.
It is clear that under Soulskazar, if United continue to produce academy players, he will find a place in their squad. The players in the squad at the academy have the knowledge to be ready to make grades.
Soulskazar has already shown his confidence in the young players and is ready to make and impress much more based on the evidence of United’s recruitment and the young book already has proof of their book performance.