Manchester United: Five youngsters to break through next season after Rashford

first_img 4. Ashley Fletcher (striker) – At 20, Fletcher is one of the older prospects hoping to make it at United, but he is benefitting from first-team football this season. The striker is currently on loan at Barnsley, where he has scored four goals in 14 games. Able to play on the wing as well as up front, Fletcher built a reputation for himself as a goalscorer in youth football, and he will be hoping that Van Gaal has been impressed by a series of impressive performances on loan. Manchester United have a proud history of bringing through youth players from their academy, with Marcus Rashford the latest star to have an immediate impact upon the first-team.Since October 1937, the Red Devils have had at least one youth product in every matchday squad, and Louis van Gaal has been continuing the tradition this season.Rashford has been joined by the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Donald Love in playing for the senior team this season.The striker has been the biggest success, netting five goals in eight games, and talkSPORT take a look at more youth prospects who can break through at Old Trafford next season.Click the arrow above to see the top five academy players who can make it at Manchester United… 5. Demetri Mitchell (winger) – Comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo may be coming too early for the 19-year-old, but Mitchell certainly shares many of the traits that the Portuguese star possesses. Renowned for his pace, Mitchell uses his athleticism to great effect, and combines this with a natural flair to beat opposition players. A raw talent, there is a need to learn how to play the team game and to use his strengths to benefit his teammates, but Van Gaal could do much worse than call upon the teenager as a wild card if he needs to rejuvenate his offensive play. 5 5 5 3. Callum Gribbin (midfielder) – Only 17-years-old, Gribbin is held in high regard. The midfielder was part of the Under-21 side last season, when still only 16, and was reportedly wanted by both Liverpool and Manchester City in the summer, only to sign a new contract with United. A creative playmaker, Gribbin has built a reputation as a player who can deal with pressure and fool opposition players with ease, showing a maturity beyond his years. He is also excellent at set-pieces, and labelling him as a midfielder seems to restrict just how influential he can be across the entire field of play. 5 5 1. Timothy Fosu-Mensah (defender) – At just 18 years of age, centre-back Fosu-Mensah has already made his debut for the Red Devils, playing 35 minutes of the 3-2 win over Arsenal in February. He has remained a part of Van Gaal’s squad, but it is not expected that he will feature much more with first-team regulars healthy. However, the former Ajax youngster should break through as a key first-team player next season, having already proven he can deal with the Premier League. He is young, but Fosu-Mensah has shown that he is tactically aware, and can physically match up with strikers much older than him. Click the right arrow to see the other Manchester United youth prospects who can break through next season… 2. Axel Tuanzebe (defender) – Tuanzebe has twice been named on the bench this season, without ever playing for United, but the English centre-back is one of the stalwarts of the Red Devils’ youth teams. He was named academy player of the year for 2015, and as a powerful and technical player, Tuanzebe is seen as the archetype for the modern day centre-back. He is highly rated by head coach Van Gaal, and if the Dutchman remains in charge next season, it could be Tuanzebe who is lining up in defence. last_img