Six Manchester United youngsters hoping to impress Jose Mourinho in America
With seven players from Manchester United's squad reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup and now on a well-deserved break, Jose Mourinho has been forced to turn to youth during their pre-season tour of America. Luke Edwards has a look at five of the youngsters hoping to give their manager food for thought.
Signed from Feyenoord two years ago, Chong has been tipped for big things for some time and Jose Mourinho was full of praise for the winger after his impressive cameo against Club America in United’s first pre-season friendly of the summer.
Mourinho has indicated he wants the teenager to train with the United first team this season rather than go out on loan, although there is bound to be plenty of interest in him if he changes his mind.
Chong is quick and tricky, an ideal combination for a winger, although he is still growing and is unlikely to be exposed to the physical demands of the Premier League until he has filled out under the guidance of the club’s fitness and conditioning staff.
The winger, who can play on either flank, is the current recipient of the Jimmy Murphy young player of the year award. Born in Curacao, he is expected to elect to play for Holland at international level, although he will qualify to play for England in three years.
Big things are expected of a player who moved to Manchester from London when he was a toddler. Won the World Cup with the England Under-17 squad last year. He has been prolific for United in their age group sides and has made light of the fact he has been compared to the former Brazilian legend Ronaldinho in the past.
That is the sort of tag that can weigh heavily on the shoulders of a player who has still not started a senior game for his club, but there is a buzz of excitement surrounding him ever since he was named United’s best young player last year.
Made his debut against Crystal Palace at the end of the 2016/17 season and also played against Yeovil in the FA Cup the following season.
Started his football career at Fletcher Moss, the same club that nurtured Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and made his first-team debut for United at the end of the 2016/17 season. Gained precious first-team experience while on loan at Hearts in Scotland during the second half of last season and started as a winger in United’s first pre-season friendly against Club America.
He has played much of his football at left back and is likely to be sent out on loan again this season in order to gain senior experience.
The youngest member of the squad out in America, the 16-year-old has raised eyebrows among senior players with his ability in training and came off the bench against Club America.
Scored 17 goals in 17 starts for his age group side last season, he can play as the main striker or in the No 10 role, versatility that has impressed Mourinho.
An England Under-17 international, he has been fast tracked into the senior squad this summer because of the absence of so many players who featured in the World Cup. Is likely to go back into the youth team when United return to England, but one to keep an eye on.
Signed his first professional contract at United earlier this year and was captain of the England Under-17 side that reached the semi-finals of the European Championships earlier this year.
A dynamic, box-to-box midfielder he is the sort of player Mourinho likes although he is also considered too slight, at the moment, to play in the Premier League.
United, though, are confident he will make the grade as a Premier League player after he was arguably United’s best player at Under-18 level last term.
Position: Centre back
A local lad from Whalley Range in Manchester, Williams first came to the attention of most Manchester United supporters during the final few weeks of Louis van Gaal’s reign at Old Trafford and was on the bench for a Premier League game against West Ham in March 2016.
A talented athlete, he broke Darren Campbell’s schoolboy record for the 100m before he decided to concentrate on football. As a centre-back, he has been held back due to the physical demands of the position, as well as an injury that sidelined him for six months, but is once again hoping to be involved in the first team squad this season.