Jose Mourinho will take charge of his first game as Manchester United manager next week when the Red Devils make the short trip to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
The “Special One” has claimed that a host of the club’s youngsters will feature in his United bow, and he cited two names in particular. Speaking to MUTV, the 53-year-old revealed that academy talents Tyrell Warren and Axel Tuanzebe are in line to play to make their senior debuts in the pre-season friendly.
“I’m bringing to the first-team kids like Tyrell, kids like Axel Tuanzebe,” Mourinho said . “I don’t know them well. I just trust Nicky Butt (Head of Academy) and Murtough (Head of Football Development) and the structure’s judgement.”
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Tuanzebe, United’s U18 captain, was called up to the first-team squad on a number of occasions by Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal last season.
The robust, powerful and composed defender is only 18 but, having returned from a four-month injury lay-off, is widely tipped to be the academy’s next breakthrough star. Warren, on the other hand, is relatively unknown to the vast majority of United supporters. So, what can they expect from him?
Warren only joined United’s academy in July 2015, but in the past year he has progressed well and developed into a key member of the under-18 side, starting 23 games last term.
The 17-year-old was described as the “best player on the pitch” by his coach Butt following a UEFA Youth League tie against Wolfsburg in September.
The local lad enjoyed a fine 2015-16 season and was rewarded for his good form by being called up to the under-21s, going on to make five appearances in their title-winning campaign.
The pacey, tenacious, reliable full-back, who can also play in central defence, is quick to sense danger and has good awareness for such a young player. He is a leader, extremely composed on the ball, and capable of producing quality when he advances into the final third.
Warren is expected to be start next season with the under-21s, but Saturday’s game gives him a nice opportunity to impress both Mourinho and United’s supporters.
Who else will play?
Experienced midfielder Michael Carrick is likely to captain the side in the absence of Wayne Rooney, while fans could see Phil Jones as well as the long-awaited return of Luke Shaw after nearly ten months out.
Three other Van Gaal signings, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Memphis Depay, may also get a chance to establish themselves in Mourinho’s plans. In addition to Warren and Tuanzebe, goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, the highly-rated Timothy Fosu-Mensah and the strike duo of Will Keane and James Wilson are all set to feature this weekend.
Will Mourinho continue to promote youth during the 2016-17 season? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!