With such great change going on in and around the club, certain Man United youngsters have either risen to the fore or dwindled off into immediate obscurity when faced with a challenge.
The Best Man United Youngsters
Truly, Man United youngsters permeate the club’s entire history.
Right from the zenith of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, derived from the groundbreaking principles of the preceding Sir Matt Busby, the mantra always remained the same:
“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”Sir Matt Busby
And under Erik Ten Hag, there have been a few Man United youngsters who have either emerged as favourites under his playing style, or are clearly knocking on the door for starts in future.
So, in this article for Hobby FC, I’m going to tally up the top 4 young Red Devils to keep an eye out for in the coming months and years. And since we love collecting here, it might be worth going down the route of seeing what shirts, cards and stickers are available to start hoovering up right now, as opposed to waiting until the market prices you out!
After a stat-padded season on loan in the Championship with Sunderland and a prolonged 5 month absence from the squad after a pre-season knock, the stage is set for Amad Diallo.
With the ongoing issues with Jason Sancho and Antony, that RW spot is up for grabs.
Especially with his tendency to cut onto his favoured left foot and make something happen in a variety of ways – which is one of the major gripes with his Brazilian teammate in particular.
Thus far, opportunities have been limited with the fixture congestion around winter, but with that easing and United leaving Europe, he has more of a platform with which to capture his manager’s attention en route to a more considered developmental plan in the first team.
In other words, this could be his breakthrough season as a Manchester United player. So, it may be a risk to ‘invest’ in his now, but a considered one when you think of how good he can be.
I get a little giddy every time I watch Kobbie Mainoo in a Manchester United shirt.
Right from this time last year where Ten Hag announced a long-term deal for the then-U18 contractee, eyes have been focused on the young Englishman to see if he possessed the ability to grow into the type of player that United have been crying out for years:
A creative, dynamic and composed midfielder – the middle ground between a No.8 and No.6.
And right from his first start away at a raucous Goodison Park, his class, ability to scan the pitch and pure calmness on the ball was there for all to see in a very comfortable 0-3 win vs Everton.
Now, it seems like Mainoo is among the few players that fans are clamouring to have in their starting lineups, and if he continues on this trajectory, then everything made of him this year will have that coveted ‘rookie’ title – and we all know how important that is in terms of collectibility and value.
Of all these Man United youngsters, we come to the most experienced.
Alejandro Garnacho has been something of a revelation at Old Trafford.
Having to crowbar your way into the team via a side marshalled by the likes of Marcus Rashford and (whenever fit) Anthony Martial, Garnacho has had to work hard to make a name for himself.
But, Everton wondergoal aside, he has done so very well under Erik Ten Hag.
His natural ability to fleet-foot his way passed the defender and unleash a shot at goal has held him in good stead so far with the manager, and his unbreakable will and desire to track back and fight for the team has his name sung from the terraces whenever the ball breaks his way.
He’s also been introduced into the Argentina squad and, on this trajectory, will make his path there in no time. So, United and Argentina-related memorabilia should both be on your list for this one.
It’s been a hot-cold start for Rasmus Hojlund in a United shirt.
In the Champions League, you couldn’t stop the Big Dane from getting on the score sheet, but on terra firma back home, he seemed like he was paid to stay off of it.
Which is why that comeback winner versus Aston Villa on Boxing Day was so wildly celebrated by him, his teammates, the coaching staff, and every Manchester United fan in the world.
For while he would technically be included in this ‘Man United youngsters’ list purely down to being 20 years of age, the investment required to bring him in for Atalanta and United’s need for a No.9 means that he isn’t being given much of a grace period by wider media outlets.
It also doesn’t help when your name sounds like ‘Haaland‘ to some people’s ears.
That being said, his cards and shirts are still being printed, and the price for his Atalanta ‘rookie’ editions are already sky-rocketing. So, if you feel good about this kid leading the future of Manchester United to glory, then it might be the time to invest in what would go down in history as his first year of doing so.
The life of these Man United youngsters aren’t easy.
With the scrutiny of being a Premier League player and the pressure of doing so for the most successful organisation ever to be a part of it, there is a real (and annoyingly likely) chance that we may look on the careers of these lads and ask ‘what should have been’.
But in the world of collecting, where we love the ‘cult hero’ as much as we do the ‘superstar’, there will always be a place in your hoard for players who showcase potential in the dawn of their careers.
At least, I think so!
In which of these Man United youngsters are you going to invest this season?