As the senior squad prepares for a new season with a whirlwind tour of North America, the youngsters for whom Sir Alex Ferguson has such high hopes for are working hard at Carrington under reserve team coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Whether by choice or sheer necessity, Ferguson has made it clear on many occasions that the future success of Manchester United lies in a sophisticated youth system which has become the envy of the Premier League.
Some like the Da Silva twins, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Ben Amos, Richie De Laet, Corry Evans, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Diouf and Federico Macheda have already taken a forward step by being included in the senior squad on tour while the remainder has to make do with pre season matches like the testimonial for Yeovil Town stalwart Darren Way last weekend. Three 18 year olds are among the many whose names are sure to become familiar with fans in the near future.
Cameron Stewart – The versatile attacking midfielder is the kind of player which United supporters have been crying out for. Stewart has featured on the bench for the first team on occasions although he has not made an appearance yet. As a player who is equally adept at playing on the wings as well as in the attacking midfield position and as a lone striker, which has already done for the reserve team, Stewart is certain to be one of the youth players likely to make his first team debut this season. He has demonstrated his exceptional skills and pace on a number of occasions and should be able to blend well in the first team squad given the chance. Again, this is primarily going to happen in the domestic cups
Paul Pogba – The U17 France international is widely considered to be the much awaited successor to Patrick Viera in the French national team ahead of even Lassana Diarra. Pogba is considered to be the next Roy Keane at United for his defensive midfield prowess. He is counted on as the most talented player in the United youth setup with abilities that far exceeds his age. Pogba is still a raw talent but he is shaping up to become a defensive pillar in United’s first team midfield in just a matter of a couple of years. While Darren Fletcher‘s consistency and Owen Hargreaves‘ hoped for return, along with Paul’s young age, means that his opportunities will be limited, he should get the chance to shine in the Carling and the FA Cups
Joshua King – The most natural finisher in the United Reserves, King is another exciting forward in the United youth setup. Different from Macheda in the sense that he is quick compared to the more physical aspect of the Italian, King has underlined his importance and ability by scoring vital goals for his team last season as they retained the Reserves’ title. He is also strong in the air which has got him a number of goals. Overall he is one of the more complete young strikers in any of the Premiership academies. With Welbeck possibly going out on loan, King should be in with a chance to make his mark in some of the Carling and FA Cup matches. His ability should allow him to shine on the big stage at Old Trafford soon enough
The future certainly looks bright when the number of youngsters coming through the system are considered with all of them satisfying the new “home-grown” criteria. The imminent retirements of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, as well as any outgoing transfers will certainly allow these players to make their mark on the first team.
Let’s hope that before Sir Alex retires he creates a new “Golden Generation” to pass onto his successor so that the dominance of Manchester United carries on. Fans will then have the satisfaction of seeing a side molded around it’s own youngsters rather than superstars purchased from other clubs, whether from within England or overseas.
Are you confident that a new Golden Team is being developed at Old Trafford?