Chris Smalling reveals youngsters have trained with the Manchester United first team this week

by Leo Nieboer

Chris Smalling has revealed that up to nine youngsters have been training with the Manchester United squad over the week.

The October international break has given Jose Mourinho a nervous wait to see if all his players remain fit ahead of Man United’s meeting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.

Other players, like Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial, have remained at Carrington to work under Mourinho’s watch.

And according to Carrick, a series of United youngsters have been working with the main group as well.

“It’s great to see their energy,” he said.

“It reminds you of when you were that young and you wanted to come in. We’ve had quite a lot of young players in and it’s nice to see. There must have been at least seven, eight or nine of the young ones.

“Again we’ll train with them tomorrow – I think we’re playing a bigger [sided] game. It gives every one of them an opportunity to see that pathway through [to the first team.”

Placing faith in youngsters is part of this club’s DNA but, more importantly, significantly benefits United on the pitch.

As a teenager you are brazen, unchecked, free of niggling injuries which have weighed you down over the years. As time goes on players become more calculated rather than instinctive, more acutely aware of what the other 21 players on the pitch mean, and how you configure amongst them.

United, perhaps more than ever, needs players who bring instinct, who are fearless. Anthony Martial provided that in 2015. Marcus Rashford did it a year later. Many – from Danny Welbeck to David Beckham – have done it in the past. It is a tradition which needs to be respected.

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