Manchester United’s Reserve Player of the Year 2013/14

by Tracey Germaine

As voting has opened for the end of season awards, it’s time to look at the nominees for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award.

Here are the three hopefuls who are looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Darren Fletcher and Nicky Butt.

Reece James

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Of the three nominees for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award, Reece James is the one who has played the most minutes for United in the league with 18 appearances in all competitions at Under-21 level. He’s the younger brother of former United youth player Matty James.

Reece established himself in the Under-21s towards the end of last season and helped the team win the inaugural Under-21 Barclays Premier League. He spent the beginning of the 2013/14 season on loan at Carlisle United before returning to United following a thigh injury.

Reece is one of the first names on Warren Joyce’s teamsheet and when he’s available, he is named in the starting XI. The 20-year-old left-back’s versatility has proved invaluable as his natural ability and work ethic means he has looked comfortable filling in at centre-back, left-wing and central midfield in both a defensive and attacking role.

He’s confident in possession, fully aware of his defensive duties and also looks forward for opportunities to attack.

Reece is very reliable and with the exodus of many of the senior players at this level he has recently had the extra responsibility of wearing the captain’s armband.

Charni Ekangamene

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In terms of name recognition, Charni Ekangamene is probably ahead of his fellow Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year nominees as youth fans were heartened to hear that he had been awarded a squad number earlier in the season.

The Belgian born midfielder has played 18 games in all competitions at Under-21 level. During his appearances, he has provided one assist and has picked up one booking.

Usually deployed as a defensive midfielder, Ekangamene showed his versatility as he stepped in at centre-back when United found themselves short at the back. His positional sense and composure on the ball meant that he acquitted himself admirably in the unfamiliar role.

He joined Carlisle United on loan where he made several appearances but when United found themselves short of players he returned to help out, as one of the more experienced players available at this level given he was part of the squad that won the inaugural Under-21 Barclays’ Premier League last season.

Saidy Janko

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Since joining United last summer from FC Zurich, Saidy Janko has adapted well to the English game. For many, he’s a surprise candidate for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award with just 13 appearances at Under-21 level. He has also made five appearances at Under-18 level including three appearances in the FA Youth Cup, as well as four appearances in the UEFA Youth League.

He has had nine starts at Under-21 level with three appearances from the bench. In those games, he has scored one goal, assisted three others and also received one yellow card.

He can play anywhere along the right flank,but has predominantly featured on the right wing. His pace and power have seen him likened by many to Antonio Valencia because he uses his strength to take on defenders, with a fearless quality which has seen fans take to him fairly quickly.

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