Sunday 17 February 2019

Opportunity knocks for United's next generation

The stars have finally stopped aligning for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. Not only did our interim manager taste defeat for the first time in his seven-week tenure on Tuesday, but fate has also dealt its fickle hand. Two key players have been lost in the process, with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard - integral and indispensable to Ole's United identikit - ruled out for at least the next four matches.

The pair could not be injured as a worse time, with an already difficult challenge at Stamford Bridge now looking almost impossible. With the spectre of Liverpool on the horizon next Sunday, things are only getting harder for Solskjaer and the team.
Unless, of course, Ole dispenses with the incompatible pair of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata and takes the plunge by giving youth teams talents Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes their chance.

But it is also another opportunity for Alexis Sanchez to finally deliver for the Reds, as the Chilean has endured a woeful time at the club so far.

The boss hinted at the pair's involvement, and said: “Angel and Chongy have been training with us all week, even the weeks leading up to this, so there is a big chance they will be involved.”

That’s music to my ears!
Our current injury situation reminds me of the crisis we had under Louis van Gaal in his second season at Old Trafford when he was forced to promote Marcus Rashford to the first team as all our first-team strikers were out injured. That didn't turn out too badly, did it now...

Mason Greenwood, 17, has plundered 25 goals in 26 appearances for the Reds youth ranks this term and also looked set to come into the first-team frame at Stamford Bridge, but he's also sidelined for two weeks with injury. Greenwood's long awaited senior bow will have to wait but it surely won't be too long.

Both of United's highly rated young forwards have featured in the early stages of Solskjaer's tenure. He gave 19-year-old Chong his debut against Reading in the third round of this cup and Gomes, 18, also cameod in the Boxing Day win over Huddersfield.

Despite Gomes' tender years,  it's clear to see why he is so highly-rated at the club. A quick, dynamic winger who loves to take on defenders, he seems destined for big things. Chong has also a significant impression through his displays at youth level. The Dutchman's frizzy mane of hair bears resemblance to Marouane Fellaini but his speed, skill and eye for goal suggest he is poles apart from the Belgian in terms of playing style.

These two are very exciting prospects, Stamford Bridge is no place for the faint hearted so let's hope for another chance to get a glimpse of the future.

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