From the outside looking in there seems to be a lot of problems at Manchester United. Their captain and star player Wayne Rooney isn’t scoring, they’ve already been knocked out of the Champions League, they are slipping down the Premier League table and their manager is walking out of press conferences.
However, one part of the club that does seem to be prospering is the Academy system. The youth setup at Old Trafford is currently developing some very talented players and ensuring that the long-term future at Man United remains bright.
The recent injury crisis to Louis van Gaal’s squad has meant that multiple academy products, from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to Jesse Lingard, have broken into United’s senior side this season. Say what you want about Van Gaal, but no one can doubt that he shares United’s rich tradition of giving young players first-team opportunities.
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Having already uncovered Under-18 captain Axel Tuanzebe and two hidden gems of the Manchester United academy, in this article I introduce a teenager who is good enough to become a future star for the Red Devils.
Manchester United fans should be excited about Callum Gribbin because he is one of the most talented prospects at the club. The 17-year-old starlet is a classy playmaker who operates either in a central attacking midfield role or in the wide areas. Gribbin is elegant on the ball, good enough to keep it under pressure and possesses excellent vision.
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Style of play
Similar to Everton’s Ross Barkley, Gribbin goes against the mould of a typical English player because he always wants to get on the ball and he is always looking to make the most creative pass possible. He is still raw but his incredibly quick feet and dazzling close control have seen some dub him as 'the next Ryan Giggs'.
Gribbin, born in Manchester, played predominantly last term for the Under-18’s, where he honed his skills and produced one of the best individual performances of their entire season against Aston Villa in March. He went on to score stunning solo goals against Manchester City and Middlesbrough and over the course of the year he established himself as a genuine match-winner.
Having caught the eye at United’s AON Training Complex, the English teenager even made an appearance for the title-winning Under-21 team at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
To compliment his qualities on the ball, this season Gribbin has improved his work-rate, his retrieval of possession and his understanding of what to do when his team doesn’t have the ball. After the UEFA Youth League tie at Wolfsburg earlier this month, coach and former Red Devil Nicky Butt lauded the midfielder for adding defensive awareness to his overall game.
Gribbin has the potential to be top-class
Youth coach Kenny Swain, who worked with Gribbin at England U16 and U17 level, claims that United have the makings of a top-class player on their hands. He described Gribbin as a “special” talent who even left him breathless after some training sessions.
The future is bright
This promising attacking midfielder is also held in high regard by the coaches at Old Trafford. Following his dramatic rise over the past year or so, it’s widely believed that Gribbin will continue to develop and turn into a huge star for Manchester United in the years to come.