Five United stars of the future

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A youthful Ryan Giggs dominates the backdrop, there are pictures of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville and, in the corner, a portrait of the Busby Babes - a fitting tribute to the generations of talent etched in the corridors of Old Trafford.

For Manchester United is a club that no matter how steeped in history, will forever recognise the contribution of all its youngsters, from local lads to homegrown stars, foreign imports, old and new.

And with a new wave of optimism this year following the emergence of the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, and Danny Welbeck, Sir Alex Ferguson is spoilt for choice when it comes to his first-team selection.

In a BBC interview last week Ferguson picked out Paul Pogba, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Will Keane as United starlets - an opinion further endorsed by the aforementioned Scholes - who has had an opportunity to take a closer look at the club's stars of tomorrow as he continues in his role as part-time coach with the academy.

"Three excellent players who you'd hope will get a chance in the first team," he says of the manager's selections. "Tunnicliffe's gone down to Peterborough [on loan] and has done okay down there.

"Pogba has got amazing talent. He's such a big lad for his age. The physique he's got is unbelievable.

"I think Will Keane has the capability to be a top-class centre-forward. He's one of the lads I've been working with. He was always someone I liked when I was watching the youth teams.


"He's just got a presence about him, he's a strong lad and has great feet – the ability to strike a ball. The kind of things [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy had. The first time I saw him I thought 'Jesus Christ' because he was smashing balls in from anywhere. Keane has the potential to do that.

"Any others? Larnell Cole. He looks a great prospect. He's very small but he's a very clever footballer. He's similar to Shaun Wright-Phillips but a player who can play inside a bit better than Shaun. Shaun's an out and out wide man but Larnell can play in a three in midfield."

With youth development in the forefront of everybody's minds, not least at the reigning Barclays Premier League champions, GiveMeFootball picks five of Manchester United's next generation of players tipped to make the breakthrough.

Name: Ezekiel Fryers
Nationality: English
DOB: 09 Sept 1992

A tall and athletic left-sided full-back, strong defensively but also - as with most modern full-backs - is a player that likes to get forward and help out in attack.

With pace in abundance and tough in the tackle, Zeki has been capped at England youth international level, and made his senior debut in the recent Carling Cup victory over Leeds.

Name: Ryan Tunnicliffe
Nationality: English
DOB: 30 Dec 1992
Position: Midfielder

A powerful midfield all-rounder, Ryan Tunnicliffe likes to tackle, pass and score goals.

A player with obvious passion, grit, determination, and no shortage of natural footballing ability, the midfield dynamo is currently enjoying a loan-spell in the second tier with Peterborough United.

Name: Paul Pogba
Nationality: French
DOB: 15 Mar 1993

A highly-promising young French midfielder who possesses a broad range of qualities required to dominate the midfield. He is powerful, skilful, creative, and has great stamina, with vision to pick out key passes, and an eye for goal.

Pogba has been a regular for France at various levels of youth international football, and also made his Red Devils debut as a second-half substitute at Elland Road.

Name: Larnell Cole
Nationality: English
DOB: 09 Mar 1993

An attacking midfielder, primarily right-sided, but able to adapt to a number of different positions.

Despite his sleight build, Cole is skilful, quick, and capable of making an impact on the game. He is a team player that also possesses qualities to make an individual difference in matches.

Name: William Keane
Nationality: English
DOB: 11 Jan 1993

A creative and deadly centre-forward, equally at ease carving out chances for his team-mates, but equally adept at finding the net himself.

Keane combines a deceptive, yet unnerring, finishing ability with exceptional vision, and also has the quality to execute a killer pass.

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