Manchester United midfielder Joe Riley was named Player of the Tournament at the 25th Anniversary Mercedes Benz Junior Cup 2015.
Riley put in solid performances throughout the competition as United’s U19s went on to lift the trophy in the German six-a-side indoor football tournament. Riley scored once and created many other openings but luck wasn’t on his side as far as finishing was concerned.
It is a testament to his overall play that he bagged the Player of the Tournament. He grew into the competition with each game, adapting to the nuances of the pitch surrounded with hoardings. He contributed to both the attacking side of the play and defensively – unsurprising to those familiar with him at U18 level. He’s often regarded as a utility player because he can slot in at right-back, right-wing or central midfield with ease.
However Riley, who has been with United since the tender age of seven, appears to favour the attacking side of the game – a quality on show in this tournament where he drove forward with the ball searching for winning goals or equalisers. It’s no wonder he is described on the offical ManUtd.com website as “extremely tenacious and does not know the meaning of the word defeat”.
Not many United fans will know about Riley but he’s one of a number of talented starlets coming through the lower ranks at United and winning this award certainly pushes him into the limelight. The 18-year-old has made 14 appearances so far this season at U18 level, predominantly in a midfield role. He is the top assist provider at that level for United with five this year.