Jose Mourinho has promised to play the kids against Arsenal and these 10 might get a run out[/caption] Jose Mourinho has promised significant changes to the Manchester United XI against Arsenal this weekend – even suggesting the kids might get a run out. It is highly unlikely the United manager will completely change his side after Thursday night’s victory in Celta Vigo, but he has talked about some youngsters playing a role before the end of the season. Let’s look at 10 young guns who are being talked about around Carrington and who Mourinho could call upon if required.
Position: MidfielderWillock has already been called up to Mourinho’s first-team squad once this season, sitting on the bench during the draw against West Brom at Old Trafford in February. Stands as good a chance as any to be selected should Mourinho put faith in youth – and the Portuguese doubtless knows Willock’s back story. The midfielder was released as a schoolboy by Arsenal five years ago – his brother, Joe, is still there – but has made an impression at United. An eye for goal, Willock’s scored for the Under 23s against Liverpool and Manchester City this year. He’s been consistently involved in senior training sessions.
Axel Tuanzebe Age: 19 Position: Defender Mourinho has always taken a liking to the centre-half, having involved him in United’s first friendly of pre-season last summer. He’s been in and around the first team but has not made the breakthrough yet, with a substitute appearance against Wigan in the FA Cup his only minutes. A few thought he might be included as United’s defence injuries stacked up in recent weeks, but Daley Blind was preferred. His manager constantly talks him up when discussion is centred on United’s lack of depth but that has not yet transmitted into game time.
Scott McTominay Age: 20 Position: Midfielder McTominay has grown 10 inches in under two years to become an imposing central midfielder, soaring way over six foot. Has been used further forward by Nicky Butt in the Under 23s this season – United have a lack of forwards at that level – but his future looks set to be in the engine room. He has been training with the first team this week and named on the bench for the disappointing draw with Swansea last Sunday. Mourinho has moved to add McTominay – along with Willock – to his Europa League squad as well.
Joel Pereira Age: 20 Position: Goalkeeper The one position where Mourinho will almost certainly not throw a youngster in for obvious reasons, but Pereira gained experience earlier in the season out on loan with Belenenses. He earned a recall to United after eight games in Portugal – coming on as a substitute in that cup win over Wigan. That saw Dean Henderson head out to Grimsby on a temporary switch, although he is now back at Carrington and playing for the Under 23s. Pereira – who spent a bit of time at Rochdale last season – has worked closely with David De Gea and Sergio Romero since returning from Belenenses and was recently linked with a move to Benfica.
Demetri Mitchell Age: 20 Position: Full back Mitchell knows a trick or two and has always been best standing up his marker one-on-one, knocking the ball past them and nipping around the other side. He has played up front and started out as a genuine winger, but under Warren Joyce and then Butt started to learn his craft at left back. ‘I’ve looked at how Luke Shaw gets down the left side at full-back and someone else I’ve studied is Ashley Cole,’ Mitchell told United’s official website. ‘He was a winger early on but played his whole career at left-back and did so for England as well.’
Matthew Olosunde Age: 19 Position: Defender Born in New Jersey, Olosunde made the switch to United last summer and scored a quite stunning goal during last month’s Dallas Cup over in the States, beating three men before slipping underneath the keeper. A powerful force going forward and strong in the tackle, Olosunde can also play in midfield in a similar vein to Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who is out injured just when his chance might have arisen.
Josh Harrop Age: 21 Position: Midfielder Jesse Lingard is proof that the door is always open to academy products who remain at United and he still has a chance if his two goals in a friendly against Salford City are anything to go by. Harrop curled one effort in from the edge of the area before later beating two men – selling one a dummy – and chipping the goalkeeper from a standing start while in the box. A real moment of quality. Hibernian were interested in taking him on loan in January and he perhaps needs games away to kickstart his career.
George Tanner Age: 17 Position: Midfielder/full back Always a centre forward growing up, Tanner was moulded into a midfielder and then a left back. Those who have seen him play regularly are enthused by his progress. Under 18 boss Kieran McKenna said: ‘George is really versatile. He is another modern full-back because he likes to get forward, deliver crosses and be a goal threat. ‘He is another solid, dependable character and a fantastic trainer. He has a really good attitude and it’s important to have people like that in your group.’
Callum Gribbin Age: 18 Position: Forward Salford-born Gribbin has stood out when playing for Butt and has an exquisite weight of pass. Some who see him regularly claim Gribbin can hold on to the ball too long while waiting for the perfect pass, however, while his workrate has previously been questioned. That changed earlier this season in a game against Wolfsburg. ‘People came up to me after the game and said I’d worked hard,’ Gribbin said. ‘I was really pleased as it showed people can trust me. So I think that match set me up for the season and going forward as I had to do that other side.’
Tyrell Warren Age: 18 Position: Defender Fearless in the tackle, Warren was referenced by Mourinho in one of his first press conferences as one to watch. Tuanzebe is ahead of him, but high hopes remain for the central defender, who can also operate at right back. Warren has risen through the ranks at Carrington and United will continue to work on his footwork, much like they did with Michael Keane a few years ago. Source Daily Mail]]>