Ander Herrera has been surprised by the quality of youngsters James Garner, Angel Gomes and especially Mason Greenwood, noting they would one day “kick our a** out of the club”.
Manchester United’s lack of options following the World Cup has led to Jose Mourinho bringing an array of young talent on tour: the aforementioned trio are experiencing their first pre-season along with Tahith Chong, Joshua Bohui, RoShaun Williams and Ethan Hamilton.
Chong was the standout name from the club’s opening pre-season clash with Club America, producing a dazzling cameo from the bench, while Gomes and Greenwood both came on during the latter stages.
Speaking in an interview with the Guardian, Herrera spoke effusively of the talent on show from the club’s academy.
“I am also very surprised about Garner. Angel also has a lot of quality and the striker [Greenwood], I didn’t know he was 16 years old and he was fighting against men, so I am very confident and I hope one day that they kick our a** out of the club,” he said.
Every Under-18 and Reserve player on this tour possesses a particular working ethic that Herrera, limited in ability but not in fight, strongly identifies with.
But they are winners too. Gomes, Greenwood, Bohui, Chong and Garner were all fundamental to the Under-18 side’s success in the Premier League North division last year. They have all risen through age group after age group, miles better than their contemporaries, and now find themselves playing with established stars.
Doing that required more than ability; they needed a mental ingredient as well. And making that transition from youth player to first team, as Scott McTominay did last summer, will require something even bigger.