The next few seasons will see a plethora of defensive talent emerging from Old Trafford as United seem to be burgeoning with great youngsters in their youth and reserve ranks. Having been a few years since the last bunch of youngsters made it into the first team, Wes Brown and John O’Shea being the last defenders to make the cut at United, so it seems that the bunch of youngsters emerging should contain at least a few who will be good enough to feature regularly at Old Trafford in the future.
Several names come to mind when one mentions youngsters to keep an eye on, in the academy we have Sean Mcginty, Michele Fornasier, Tom Thorpe, Alberto Massacci and Tyler Blackett. Of them Tom Thorpe has been very impressive, while Tyler Blackett is rated very highly by regular followers of the academy. Fornasier and Mcginty seem good and might make the grade while Massaci has been unfortunate with injuries over last season, hence impeding his progress since he joined from Empoli.
The following list doesn’t include Chris Smalling and Rafael, who can already be considered first team members at the club.
In the reserves, and those most likely to break through in the next two seasons include:
Fabio Da Silva:
The older of the twins at United, Fabio was initially expected to break through much before Rafael, but unfortunately his career so far has been plagued with small injuries and also having possibly the best Left Back in England if not Europe playing ahead of him. Fabio is adept with both feet and can also play at Right Back, he has been good whenever given a chance and Fabio is sure to a huge hit if he gets a sufficient chance to play regularly. He should feature at least in Carling Cup games and maybe a few Champions league fixtures in what is a big season for the young Brazilian!
Oliver Gill is more famous for his relation to the rather unpopular Manchester United Chief executive, David Gill. During his time with the academy, Gill was thought to be in the team only because of his dad, but over the last 2-3 seasons he has been one of the most improved players in the reserves. Developing into a strong and no nonsense Centre back; Gill might still have a future at Old Trafford, already having made the first team squad last season in the much publicized trip to Wolfsburg. He’s another one to look out for in the Carling Cup at the least.
Wootton is a former Liverpool youth player who made the switch to Old Trafford in 2007 and since has been quietly going about improving his game, a versatile player who can play as a Centre back, Left back and Defensive midfielder. He’s good in the air and has very good positional sense and is a natural leader on the pitch, he was the U-18’s captain during 2009/10. Wootton could make a surprise Caring Cup appearance this season.
Marnick (pictured above) joined United from Standard Liege over the summer after the young Full back signed his professional forms with United. Having not seen him play yet, he has been described as full back who is adept at both Left and Right back position. He interestingly made his reserves debut as a Winger and went on to score two goals in the game against Shamrock Rovers. Marnick’s career at United might have just begun but he has certainly started it off with a bang! He’s a player I look forward to watching this season.
Ritchie De Laet
Ritchie initially signed for United from Stoke as a cover for the reserve team, but since then his rise has been meteoric, already having made several first team appearances over the last two seasons.De Laet is on the fringes of the first team already, and his greatest strength is his versatility. He can play anywhere in defense, he is a technically gifted player, who is very dangerous when played at full back, though he may seem to be a slow and lanky defender, appearances can be deceiving as De Laet recently put an impressive showing as a right winger for the reserves, showing great dribbling, ball control and decent crossing. Ritchie though still has to work on his positioning and anticipation, but he’s almost sure be the next O’Shea.
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