Football

Manchester United: After Januzaj, who will be the next Academy starlet?

Published Add your comment

Football News
24/7

In the last couple of years Manchester United's academy has produced three outstanding players. Are there any more in the pipeline?

Adnan Januzaj is 19 in February. He joined the Academy aged 16 from Anderlecht.

It seems that Sir Alex Ferguson had hoped the young Belgian, together with Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison would be the future midfield stars that could save him a fortune in the transfer market.

It was not to be, as Pogba slipped through United's fingers and Morrison was sold to West Ham due to his indiscipline.

So are there any other young player who could emulate Januzaj's rapid rise to stardom and be the bedrock of United's future?

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) and Ross Barkley (Everton) are useful benchmarks, because like Januzaj they established themselves in a Premier League team at just 18. Some of United's best young prospects are already older than that and, with possibly a wholesale clearout this summer, they need to make their case now.

If we look at midfield, the best candidates coming through from the U21s are: Davide Petrucci (22), Larnell Cole (20), Charni Ekangemene (19), Ryan Tunnicliffe (21), Jesse Lingard (21), Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell (both 19).

Standing out in the Academy are: Andreas Perreira and Sean Goss (both 18).

Of all these players only Lingard, Pearson and Perreira are likely to make it long term. 

Meanwhile Manchester United have several players on loan, of whom Nick Powell is surely the brightest prospect, based on his form at Wigan. He is on a season long loan but a review clause allows him to be recalled early. This may happen if David Moyes fails to make significant signings in January.

Among the other positions there are several players who have the potential to become fixtures in the first team squad, especially when you consider that both UEFA and Premier League rules allow unlimited "home-grown" players in addition to all the other retained players.

Despite both Ben Amos and Sam Johnstone having played for England U21s; it is unlikely that either will become even a permanent deputy goalkeeper for Manchester United.

Michael Keane (21) is surely likely to make the first team squad as a centre back but there is a question mark over his twin brother, striker Will. If he recovers the form he showed before his long term knee ligament injury he is surely a future England striker.

Much more exciting right now is the prolific James Wilson, who is barely 18, has terrific pace and skill and is currently scoring for fun in the Academy and U19s.

Other strong prospects for the first team squad in due course are: defenders Tom Thorpe (21), Guillermo Varela (20) and Saidi Janko (18); and strikers Angelo Henriquez (19), Jack Barmby (19) and Ashley Fletcher (18).

So who is the next Adnan Januzaj?

This young man may well one day become the world's best player, so in our search for those who can blend with established professionals and new signings to become part of United's future success, there are only a handful who truly stand out:

Nick Powell has been excellent at Wigan. He is a precocious talent with pace and strength who has a rocket in either foot and is a fearless header of the ball, He has the ability to play as a striker, 'number ten' or in midfield.

Guillermo Varela (Uruguay) and Angelo Henriquez (Chile) both already have U20 honours for their respective countries. Both have shown enough to be seriously considered next season; if United's striker injuries persist or Hernandez is loaned out, surely Henriquez and Powell would be recalled from loan?

Lingard has already been on the bench last Saturday in the Premier League. His talent blossomed on tour; he has the ball skill and finishing ability to emulate Januzaj if he's given his chance.

In the same vein it is surely only a matter of time before Wilson is given a chance to show he can score goals at the highest level. Perreira and Pearson (the new Bryan Robson?) may also make their way through to become established stars.

But the one player to pick out as the next surprise for both United supporters and the media alike must surely be Saidi Janko?

He slipped under the radar last summer as one of only three signings (if you include Wilfried Zaha as well as Marouane Fellaini) and, given that he was signed on 2 September 2013, must have been sanctioned by Moyes.

So why pick him out of all these other young talents?

He has eight representative appearances for Switzerland, including his debut for the U19s aged just 17; the same age as when he signed for United.

He has already shown himself to be fast, strong and technically very skilled, with the ability to dribble past a defender on either side. He can play right back, right or central midfield and was even tried on the left for the U18s recently. He also featured in United's U19 Champions League matches.

Remember the name: Saidi Janko and don't be surprised to see him given a runout in the first team some time soon.

Meanwhile, surely Lingard, Powell, Varela and Henriquez must all get their chance?

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms

Topics:
Manchester United
Football

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again