Erik ten Hag has built himself a reputation of producing young talent at former club Ajax. Having now moved to Manchester United – the club who recently got their hands on the FA Youth Cup – it could well be a match made in heaven.
The Red Devils pride themselves on the young talent previously produced through their academy, with the iconic ‘Class of ’92’ showcasing the club’s fantastic youth system.
Despite their struggles in the last decade, the club have continued to produce young stars, and their latest batch of academy talent look to be right up there with their best.
As Ten Hag looks to shape a side capable of winning silverware at Old Trafford, the 52-year-old could use his first season there to assess some up-and-coming stars. But who will be top of his list? Planet Sport outlines seven youngsters ready to make their breakthroughs in 2022/23.
The 17-year-old winger is perhaps Manchester United’s highest rated youngster.
Signed 18 months ago from Atletico Madrid’s academy, Garnacho has blossomed into a technically superb winger, with an abundance of pace to match.
United were confident enough in Garnacho’s ability to splash £1million on his signature back in 2020, and he’s already paid the club back by playing a pivotal role in their FA Youth Cup success.
In his six appearances in the competition, Garnacho scored seven goals and registered three assists – including scoring twice in the final as United beat Nottingham Forest 3-1.
His superb performances in the youth set-up earned him a chance to train with the senior squad, and Garnacho ended the 2021/22 season having made two appearances with 11 minutes of Premier League football to his name.
Having already been called up to the Argentina national squad this year, Garnacho is emerging as a huge prospect for United, and with a small amount of Premier League football under his belt the 17-year-old could well be a part of Ten Hag’s masterplan next season.
At 21, Garner is the oldest player on this list, but he’s also the player most equipped to play a serious role in Manchester United’s starting XI next season.
The central midfielder has enjoyed the 2021/22 season out on loan with Nottingham Forest, and while United’s season ended in misery at Crystal Palace on Sunday, Garner is preparing for a trip to Wembley for the play-off final.
Having made 41 appearances for Steve Cooper’s side this season, Garner has finally gained enough first team experience to show his promise, and his four goals and eight assists from midfield have also showcased his final product.
The Red Devils are crying out for some midfield reinforcement, especially defensively, and Garner fits the profile Ten Hag will want for his new project – athletic, technically gifted and reliable.
Despite Forest’s interest in keeping him at City Ground next season, Garner could instead find himself very much part of the first team picture at Old Tarfford.
Despite snatches of game time during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, Shoretire has drifted back into United’s youth set-up.
But at just 18, the promising forward has plenty of time to continue developing, and his brief taste of Premier League football will spur him on.
His impact at youth team level has perhaps been overshadowed by Garnacho’s arrival, but Shoretire is still a phenomenal talent, one that has been working hard with the club’s reserves.
He made 27 appearances for the under-23s in 2021/22, including 22 appearances in Premier League 2 and a handful in the UEFA Youth League.
Playing predominantly on the right flank, Shoretire chipped in with eight goals and eight assists.
On top of making two senior appearances this season – including a Champions League debut – Shoretire has been pictured recently training with the senior team under Ralf Rangnick.
If the German delivers a sparkling review to the incoming Ten Hag, then Shoretire could soon see his first team numbers rise next season.
Mejbri’s short stints in United’s line-up this season have provided the Old Trafford faithful with a beacon of hope in an otherwise forgettable season.
The Tunisia international has now spent two years in Manchester after he made a high profile switch from Monaco, with the fee for his transfer understood to be around £5million.
But after making small cameos in the first team, the 19-year-old looks to have bulked up physically – reacting to one of the criticisms former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made about him.
His physicality certainly didn’t seem an issue during his two Premier League performances this year. Mejbri came on in United’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool back in April and earned praise for his combative performance. Similarly, Mejbri wasn’t afraid to get stuck in against Crystal Palace on the final day of the season.
Another midfielder ready to wear his heart on his sleeve and fight for a place in the team, Ten Hag will certainly be keeping a keen eye on Mejbri next season.
McNeill’s name first emerged back in 2020 when the striker made a move across Manchester, leaving City in favour of United.
He again made headlines after he kissed United’s badge in a youth derby against his former side.
His signature may have cost United around £750,000, but it was a price worth paying considering his lofty potential.
After making the cross-city move, McNeill enjoyed a stellar first season in red, scoring 24 goals in 21 Under-18 appearances. He added an extra eight goals in 19 appearances this season after making the step up to play Premier League 2 football.
He’s yet to make his first team debut for the club, but on his current trajectory United fans can look forward to the 18-year-old featuring under Ten Hag next season.
Another United youth stars who has recently trained with the first team squad…