Sunday 26 July 2015

Blossoming young talents shine in pre-season win

United's hugely promising performance against Barcelona in Santa Clara on Saturday was noteworthy not just because of the result but also because of the impact and contribution of several of the younger members of the squad.

The Reds have always championed youth and Academy graduates and, despite the massive outlay in incoming foreign talent since LVG took charge, the emphasis on youth is still at the forefront of his philosophy.

Of the XI who finished the game against Barcelona, seven had come through United's youth teams. 

There is nothing United fans enjoy more than seeing a promising home-grown youngster develop into a world star, and for me, one in particular stood out on Saturday: Jesse Lingard.

Despite standing out as a leading light on the last two pre-season Tours for United, his best moments have come away from Old Trafford on loan, but I feel sure that he would have made an impact at OT last season if it wasn't for that injury sustained against Swansea on the opening day.

His well-taken goal (with fellow Academy graduates James Wilson and Tyler Blackett involved in the build-up) spoke volumes of his confidence, composure and eye for the spectacular.

There were also signs that Adnan Januzaj, who endured a difficult campaign last term after a brilliant debut season in 2013/14, is beginning to rediscover the kind of form that had him touted as the next big thing at United.

He scored the decisive third goal with a clinical break-away finish and set United on the attack with several mazy, incisive bursts forward.
It was an impressive run-out as a substitute and good to see Adnan catching the eye once more. 

Blackett, who was used sparingly by LVG last season and at times struggled, looked a totally different proposition with many surging runs forward from left-back, some tidy interceptions and an assist for the Reds second goal. 

Performing well on the pre-season tour is one thing, but stepping up to the mark in the high-pressure, high-octane, testosterone-filled world of top level football is quite another and there have been many examples of burgeoning young talents falling by the wayside when the going gets tough.
However, it would be of serious disservice to this batch of youngsters if LVG doesn't at least consider the likes of Lingard, Andreas Pereira (who also impressed on Saturday), James Wilson (for me, the jury is still out on the young striker) and Januzaj for the opening match against Spurs and both domestic cup campaigns at the very least.

The future's bright, the future's red and white. 

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