Insider insight into the ‘mini Messi’ Manchester United are poised to sign

by Sam Peoples

Manchester United have been linked with a move for Dundee United youngster Ryan Gauld this week.

The 17-year-old, touted a ‘mini Messi’, has been previously scouted by Real Madrid. He made his debut for Scotland’s Under-21s this week and speaking to the Aberdeen Press and Journal, Gauld admitted he was delighted to have made his debut.

He said: “I was delighted to get my first start for the under-21s. It was against a good team so it was a good experience. I think I coped okay. I know I can do better but it wasn’t too bad.

“I was very surprised. I wasn’t even expecting to be in the squad.

“To be in the starting line-up, I was very happy about that. I just tried to play my best. I try not to be nervous about games. I look forward to them and try to enjoy them.”

Despite how highly regarded he is, not much is known about Gauld but The Peoples Person managed to talk to Ben, a Dundee United season ticket holder, to find out more information about why Gauld is held in such high regard.


Gauld is a fantastic player. He’s very small, has a great first, second and third touch and is very comfortable on the ball. He’s been nicknamed ‘Mini Messi’ though probably a more realistic comparison would be a young Joe Cole.

Dundee United play a 4-2-3-1 formation and Gauld’s at his best in the central attacking midfield role, drifting across the park and interchanging with the wide attacking midfielders, though he isn’t a winger. He’s a real threat around the box and from set pieces.

Often managers and fans know when they have a real gem on their hands. I remember Walter Smith saying there was a 14-year-old named Wayne Rooney who would go on to be a star. Over the past few years we’d been hearing there was a lad in our youth team named Ryan Gauld who is something special. You can tell watching him that even at 17, he’s on another level from the players around him in the Scottish Premiership.

We’ve had a lot of talented kids in recent years, including David Goodwillie who is back with us on loan from Blackburn, Johnny Russell who is now at Derby and Scott Allan, who is at Birmingham.

Gauld, though, is a far brighter prospect with much higher potential. I’d say he’s easily our most exciting teenager since Duncan Ferguson and can go a lot further in the game than Big Dunc.

Dundee United fans love him and he has his own song – our version of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ (Gauld).


Gauld’s a very level headed lad who has just signed a new contract until 2016. A lot of young Scottish players have moved down south far too early in their careers and have lost their way.

Another great trait is Gauld’s attitude. Given his size and talent, he suffers a lot of fouls and rough treatment but always bounces back onto his feet, desperate for the ball again.

Dundee United have a great youth system and give young players a chance and Gauld seems to have decided his career is best served playing first team football over the next year or so.

His good mate at Tannadice is our 17-year-old central defender John Souttar, another outstanding talent, has also signed until 2016 and recently turned down a move to Sunderland to continue his development in our first team.

Another great trait is Gauld’s attitude. Given his size and talent, he suffers a lot of fouls and rough treatment but always bounces back onto his feet, desperate for the ball again.

Could Gauld make it at Man United? Why not. He’s a tremendous prospect with bags of talent and confidence and will definitely move on to bigger and better things sooner rather than later.


The game is littered with lost and wasted talents but Gauld has a chance and if he’s to move on anywhere I’d love it to be Old Trafford. For now, though, we want to keep our ‘Mini Messi’.”

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