Home » Which Manchester United youngsters will impress Erik Ten Hag? – Forwards

Which Manchester United youngsters will impress Erik Ten Hag? – Forwards

by Colm Murphy

A week away from pre-season training and Manchester United’s sparse attacking options means Erik Ten Hag may have to turn to the youth to add much needed depth.

Here we will look at the young attackers at the club who may be involved on the pre-season tour and could break through this season.

You can also see previous reviews on defenders and midfielders likely to make the step up into Ten Hag’s squad.

Facundo Pellistri

Having already impressed on last year’s summer tour, Pellistri will be looking for a repeat to earn a spot in United’s squad this season.

On the back of a disastrous loan spell with Alaves where he had little playing time and not a single goal contribution, the Uruguayan’s future at the club was faltering before it even began.

However, the youngster’s recent international involvements were a reminder of what he has to offer. With three assists in six appearances for Uruguay, Pellistri has provided his country with industrious non-stop running down the right flank, a quality that has been absent at United for years.

As a right footed right winger, he stretches play and looks to get in on the outside and charge into the box or provide a cross. But he shouldn’t be seen as one dimensional, as he showed with the club’s u23s he is also very adept and feinting and coming infield to link up with the midfield.

With there currently being no natural right wingers in the first team, the spot is there for Pellistri to take. Although he will be challenged by our next name.

Amad Diallo

Signed in the same summer as Pellistri, Diallo will be fighting it out for the right winger spot on the pre-season tour with him.

Unfortunately, Diallo as well is coming off the back of a relatively poor loan spell. Despite scoring a goal on his debut for Rangers, a poor performance against Celtic in the next fixture saw him completely fall out of favour and see limited action for the rest of the season.

In his rare minutes though, the Ivorian did show glimpses of his talent and added a further two goals to his tally.
Having been compared to Riyad Mahrez by Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire, Diallo is a very technical winger who likes to cut inside with tight control of the ball and operates almost like a wide number 10.

With reports linking a move for Ajax’s Antony, the starting right wing role may be filled but the back up spot is very much open and it could come down to their pre-season performances to determine which one will be staying for the season and which will likely head for another loan.

Shola Shoretire

A star of the academy in recent years, Shoretire will be looking to continue his progression into senior football and will have a good opportunity to impress Ten Hag in the early weeks of pre-season before international players return.

A very versatile player, Shoretire typically looks to operate in a number 10 role but has often been used on the wing as well and was even moved to a deeper midfield role near the end of the season for the u23s.

A composed and technical player, Shoretire has very good movement and game intelligence but can sometimes be let down by his inconsistency in being able to stamp his authority on a match.

With Ten Hag’s history of moulding players, Shoretire offers him the best canvas of ability to work with out of any academy players at the club.

Depending on what position Ten Hag sees his future at, competition in the first team may see limited space for him, in which case a loan move would be beneficial as despite still only being 18, Shoretire has already amassed 47 appearances at u23s level and is ready for the next step.

Alejandro Garnacho

After a blistering season for United’s youth sides, including a remarkable goal contribution every 50 minutes in United’s FA Youth Cup winning run, Garnacho is already being tipped to be fast tracked by Ten Hag.

A lightning quick left winger, Garnacho’s first thought is to always take on a defender, making him a constant nightmare to deal with.

Despite the excitement and eye catching 14 goals for the season though, the young winger’s tunnel vision and at times selfishness could be viewed on instances such as against Blackburn’s u18s and demonstrates he may not be ready for the step up just yet as he only turns 18 next week.

Added to that, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Antony Elanga favour the left wing, so he will have a lot of competition to fight through to get into the first team.

But with only seven starts at u23s level, the young Argentinian still has a lot to learn at reserves level and a season split between the u23s and first team is the most likely scenario.

Tahith Chong

After extending his contract for a year, Chong has returned to the club after an impressive loan spell with Birmingham City, albeit marred with injuries.

Showing off his versatility under Lee Bowyer, he excelled in an unfamiliar central role at times with exceptional energy and defensive work ethic.

With 16 appearances for the first team under his belt already, fans will associate him with his erratic decision making as he nervously tried to impress.

A player with talent though, Chong found his confidence to play with much more composure at Birmingham.

In what is likely a last chance saloon summer for Chong, if he can retain his confidence in pre-season he has an outside chance of impressing his compatriot Ten Hag.

Joe Hugill and Charlie McNeill

An almost inseparable pair, Hugill and McNeill have banged in the goals for the club’s u18s side and with the lack of striker options there is a good chance one or both will be involved in the pre-season tour.

Coming off a somewhat disappointing season for both, they struggled to make the step up to the u23s and were eventually both dropped back into the u18s where although they did dominate, they showed little sign of progress from their 2020/21 seasons.

McNeill being the more direct of the pair, is a constant runner in behind and always looking straight to goal. But he has also developed his ability in running the wide channels and providing for his teammates with well placed crosses.

Meanwhile, Hugill is a very intelligent player who has a sixth sense for picking up dangerous areas in the box to find easy finishes and despite his gangly frame, has exceptional one touch link up play.

Likely to only feature minimally on tour, it will be a free shot for them to make an impression though before the return to the u23s for the season.

Read about United’s breakthrough defenders here and midfielders here.

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