Ahead of Manchester United’s U18s FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tie against Hull City tonight, we take a look at some youngsters you should be keeping an eye on.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah(17): The new signing from Ajax only just turned 17 this month but already been tipped as one of the possible names that can make the jump to the first-team in the near future. Has been equally as good as a centre-back or holding midfielder. Timothy will be an important name for this United side if they want to have a good run in this year’s FA Youth Cup.
Marcus Rashford(17): Rashford has improved his performances for the U18s recently after a quiet start. With Croskery still not yet making a comeback, Rashford would be the only striker in the current squad although one could argue that he’s better as a left winger or a no.10. After going through his growth spurt, Rashford is now able to cope with the physicality of his new role. Combined with his improving ability of playing with his back towards the goal, Rashford’s goalscoring and dribbling ability could make him too hot to handle for Hull.
Axel Tuanzebe(17): Seen by coaches at Carrington as one of the long-term option in the future for United first team’s centre-back partnership, Tuanzebe has impressed many United fans who followed the youth team this season.The United U18s captain, who can also play as a holding midfielder, is very capable of reading games and making important challenges. His ability on the ball and his leadership also received a lot of praises from those followed his progress.
Demetri Mitchell(18): From those names that were unavailable for the Third Round tie which saw United beat Bury in a narrow 1-0 win, Demetri Mitchell could make a return. The winger/wide forward has been in sensational form for United’s academy side before his injury with five goals under his name after six starts. Considering the obvious lack of firepower in the U18s this season, Mitchell would be one of the first name in the team sheet if fit.
Callum Gribbin(16): My favourite player from this United side. Callum is a creative attacking/central midfielder with the ability to make something out of nothing with his brilliant through-balls and Januzaj-esque gliding with the ball. Though still a liability defensively, he has made great improvement recently in terms of the consistency of his impact in games. As proved by James Wilson and Andreas Pereira last year, players of his mould can be deciding factors in a close tight game.
RoShaun Williams(16): Still a schoolboy on paper, Williams has been an ever-present of the U18s defence this season. After a shaky start this season, exemplified by his performance in the 0-4 loss against Liverpool, Williams has grown into his role and was one of the most important players in the recent impressive form of the academy side, which saw them go five games in a row without conceding a goal. Williams and his team-mates will look to extend that run tomorrow.
Ollie Rathbone(18): The tiny attacking midfielder had a very impressive cameo in the last round of FA Youth Cup and was also one of the our best players in the Mercedes-Benz U19s Junior Cup – which we won after beating Stuttgart in the final. Largely behind his peers physically, Rathbone makes up for it with his technique, intelligence and toughness for such a small lad. With Dearnley, another schoolboy, usually preferred over him, Rathbone will likely have to prove himself from the bench. There are still many hopes for him at United with Lingard proved how late bloomers are still given chances at this football club.