Part of the Manchester United way is using the Academy. Last season, United grew to the highest percentage of homegrown players in Europe’s top five leagues. Leading the way with 40% of players coming through the United Academy, no other club has more.
While last season multiple players entered into the Manchester United first team from the academy, more are sure to make appearances this season. The following are lads looking to make their mark in the United first team.
Ethan Laird RB (19 y/o)
Laird made his senior debut for United in the Europa League last season. After making his second appearance for the club, he received a contract extension two months later. Ole considers Laird to be a player that could contribute to the first team in coming seasons.
While he primarily plays at Right Back, Laird is able to stand in at any position in the back line. Similarly to Brandon Williams move from Right Back to Left Back last season, Laird may play in a variety of positions in the future until he finds his footing.
Teden Mengi CB (18 y/o)
United need help in the Center Back department, but the board refuses to buy new players. This however opens an opportunity for U23 Captain, Teden Mengi.
Ole has stated that he wants defenders who are strong in one on one situations, and Mengi is just that. He is very quick, especially for a Center Back. Throughout the thick fixture this season, Mengi should expect to see some game time.
Hannibal Mejbri CAM (17 y/o)
This Frenchman is yet to make his senior debut but may get an opportunity to do so this season. Mejbri is extremely skilled on the ball and able to move the offense forward in attack. He is currently playing within the U23 side and will probably feature in the majority of their games this season.
If Mejbri does not debut this season, then a move away on loan might be on the cards for him in the seasons following. With his extreme potential, United needs to foster his talent.
Ethan Galbraith CM (19 y/o)
Galbraith made a short debut in the Europa League last season and will be looking to make a longer-lasting impact this year. His main focal point is his versatility. Galbraith is able to play as CAM when pressing offensively, Box to Box CM, and CDM providing cover to the Center Backs.
Being 19, this year is a make or break for Galbraith. Similarly to Scott Mctominay’s story of almost being loaned right before the season that he would make a squad impact, Galbraith was rumored about a few loans this summer. If he gets a chance, he needs to take it and prove to Ole that he is worth keeping around.
Di’Shon Bernard CB (19 y/o)
Bernard made an debut appearance last season during the Europa League. However, since then he has yet to play again for the United first team.
Much like Mengi, Bernard can benefit greatly from the lack of Center Back signings at United. Depending on how his U23 season goes, he might get a call up for a cup game or two this season.
Bonus: Next Season, James Garner CDM (19 y/o)
Garner is currently on loan with Championship side, Watford. Getting regular second-tier English football will surely help Garner in his development as a player.
Potentially, he could follow in Dean Henderson’s footsteps by earning promotion with a Championship side that leads to Premier League minutes.
Glory Glory Man United.
Written by CJ Szaz.