The Red Devils have many exciting young prospects coming through from their ranks.
Promoting youth has been one of the vital pillars of the success of Manchester United over the decades since early 1950s. At Old Trafford, it’s like a mantra to give youngsters their platform to shine at the highest level. Mason Greenwood’s emergence as their ‘next big thing’ has many excited that United’s academy is again producing potentially world-class talent like they did under Sir Alex Ferguson.
While Greenwood is definitely the cream of the crop, he isn’t the only exciting talent to be coming out of the academy. Thanks to their shrewd scouting and solid work developing youth, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can expect to receive more prime talents ready to make their mark at the senior level. Here are five such youngsters coming out of the Red Devils’ academy who should be kept an eye on.
5. Dillon Hoogewerf
The export from Ajax’s acclaimed academy, Hoogewerf has been highly impressive in the youth level for Manchester United since arriving in 2019. The 17-year-old has scored seven goals in 19 appearances for the Red Devils in reserves level, including three in their successful FA Youth Cup campaign. A versatile forward who can play as a centre-forward or down the wings, Hoogewerf is tailor-made for the direct, fast-pace attacking style that Manchester United thrive on.
He might not be the tallest, but Hoogewerf is extremely quick on the ball and possesses brilliant dribbling ability. The Dutch striker can skip past players, but his impressive knowledge in popping up in the right areas sees him as a cunning goal-scorer. The 17-year-old was handed his professional contract by Manchester United a few months ago and as long as he keeps improving, the striker could be fast-tracked into the senior team in the near future.
4. Teden Mengi
With defensive options slowly getting limited at Manchester United, Teden Mengi could soon grab his opportunity to become a part of the senior squad. He definitely has the skills to impress Solskjaer. The teenager was an absolute rock at the back for United’s reserve side last season, bullying strikers with his physicality and excellent game-reading ability. Not only can he make crunching tackles and vital clearances, but Mengi’s self-confidence allows him to surge ahead with the ball.
Mengi is a brilliant passer and can help his side transition from defence to attack with his distribution. He is also blessed with impressive pace and is only getting better as a reliable defender, so it won’t be surprising if he features in United’s games next season itself.
3. Ethan Laird
Manchester United have had issues with their right-back spot in recent years, having to fill wingers into their place before Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arrival. But not only is the summer signing excelling, but he has fierce competition to be wary of in the form of young Ethan Laird. The 18-year-old is an exciting modern full-back who is compelling enough in both sides of the pitch. Laird made 10 appearances for the Red Devils’ U23 team last season, picking up three assists in the process.
A vicious hard-worker moving forward, Laird’s displayed impressive pace and skill to get into promising areas from where he always delivers with pinpoint crosses. The 18-year-old is getting better defensively and is a sturdy defender who is ready to make the jump into the senior squad as an alternative to Wan-Bissaka.
2. Dylan Levitt
Having earned a lot of praise from Wales manager Ryan Giggs, Dylan Levitt is seen as potentially the next Michael Carrick for Manchester United if honed well enough. The Welsh midfielder is a stylish player who can cause a lot of problems with his technical wizardry in the middle. Levitt made 12 appearances for United’s U-23 side last season, scoring three goals and managing four assists.
With his stark creativity helping him find through-balls in the tightest spaces, Levitt has that ability to spring up the unexpected with his work. A hard-working, diligent player determined to improve, Levitt can excel from a loan spell at a club he gets regular opportunities at. One thing is for sure, if he can continue his splendid work controlling and creating from midfield, Levitt could get the Scott McTominay treatment into an early introduction in the first-team.
1. Hannibal Mejbri
Manchester United paid a hefty €10m fee to sign Hannibal Mejbri from AS Monaco in 2019, but that was all for a very good reason. The teenager with the most unique hairstyle, Hannibal Mejbri is one of the most potent up and coming talents through their youth system. A dynamic player, Mejbri can be a force to be reckoned with in the midfield.
A creative, skillful midfielder who loves to toy with his opponents, his impeccable movement and ability on the ball makes Mejbri an exciting prospect for the Red Devils. Mejbri managed six assists in 18 games for Manchester United last season and is growing at a rapid pace, ousting senior players with ease. If the Frenchman is honed well enough, he might just be a ready-made successor to Paul Pogba in the near future.