By Larry Taylor
“I always wanted to know about what the pipeline of players looked like for the team we would like to select in three years’ time” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
This season has been a frustrating one; but one positive is the emergence of young talent from Manchester United.
With the emergence of young players, whether purchased or academy grown, there’s no doubt the Red Devils have abundance of youthful talent at the club.
Memphis, Martial, Periera, Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Cameron Borthwick Jackson, Jesse Lingard — the list goes on.
With the expectation of established players coming in, which youngsters can make the cut? Who can keep a position in the United first team? And how far can each player go at the club?
Over two articles, I will investigate what the future holds for each player
He’s well-travelled, but the 23 year-old has made the most of his opportunities this season. Direct and pacey, Lingard has provided an outlet of attack predominantly in a wide area and through the middle.
Pros: Lingard has the ability to beat a player which is unfortunately a talent lacking in this current United squad. Lingard was rained upon with praise when he initially broke into the team when he played direct at players and attempting to go past them, usually with great effect. In what has been a struggling attack at times, it has been refreshing to see.
The Englishman also isn’t afraid to get dirty and defend. For what the Mancuncian lacks in natural talent, he makes up with it in effort.
Cons: Although he has broken into the side this season, he is 23 years old which is late in the traditional sense for a footballer to crack the first team. Given his inconsistencies, you have to wonder if Lingard can get much better than what he currently offers.
He has also been used in the middle which this journalist doesn’t like. He has been most effective in wide areas. Play him there, LVG!
Future at United? Squad player. Lingard is talented and enthusiastic but he does have a lack of quality and consistency that should be expected of a United first-team player. As a back up substitution or a player to bring in while first teamers are rested, the academy product definitely provides a very solid option.
We haven’t seen a lot of the Brasilian but rest assured, the boy can play. For whatever reason, he has not been provided a great number of opportunities under Louis Van Gaal but he has a very large range of skills and is a player of high potential.
Pros: Pereira has an abundance of talent that most footballers would dream of. He’s a great dribbler, has a great passing range; has an effective cross and can score goals from close range or from distance. For anyone who has watched this boy in the u21’s, you know he’s too good for that level.
Cons: For all of LVG’s faults, there has to be a reason why the 22 year-old has not been given an opportunity. There was recent reports that Periera and Januzaj had a little competition with each other to see who could score a goal from a corner. If true, that is a poor attitude to have in a team sport, particularly when you are trying to crack the first team.
We also haven’t seen Pereira truly tested in the premier league. He is slight in stature and this may be a problem for the predominantly central attacker. Until he gets a genuine opportunity, we cannot judge how he will go. With expected signings in attacking areas, you have to wonder if he will get an opportunity.
Future at United? First-team player or sold. Potentially, Pereira can be anything. If afforded the opportunity and belief, the 22 year-old will shine and show the football world what he is capable of. If Pereria doesn’t get the chance he desires soon, the player could realistically leave the club this summer. Only time will tell!
What a man! We haven’t had a lot to cheer about this season but the 18 year-old has dared to make the Old Trafford shadows fade into the sunlight. 7 goals since February, including a double against Arsenal, the winner against Manchester City and a goal to help United into the semi finals of the FA Cup suggests this Mancunian is just getting started.
Pros: Besides his wonderful pace and unpredictability, Rashford is a dogged attitude. Like Lingard, Rashford runs tirelessly in attack and defence and searches for the ball. For a young player in a huge team, it would be easy to get lazy but the striker has the attitude to match his talent.
Negatives: First touch can be poor at times and has shown a lack of consistency. There’s also a worry about the work he does in defence.
It is wonderful to see his desire but playing at a high intensity all game is reminiscent of Wayne Rooney who is now declining sooner than he should have. This is knit-picking as he is 18 years old and these discrepancies can easily be corrected with experience and coaching.
Future at United? Crucial first-team player. When you play for a big club, it is about taking your chances. With Rooney, Martial, Wilson, Keane and Fellaini in front of him before the season started, Rashford has done very well to take his chance and grab it with both hands. He has been forced to play a lot of football games back-to-back due to a lack of options but with the expected acquisition of attacking options, I expect Rashford to have less game time as a rotational squad player to ease his development with the long-term objective to have him as a mainstay in the first team in 2-3 years time. The thought of Rashford and Martial together at their peak will be a night mare to our dreams. Bright future.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will look at: Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Joe Riley, RoShaun Williams and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Memphis
Your Aussie Correspondant,
Larry – The United Stand.