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In Focus: United youngsters ready to make Old Trafford breakthrough
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Matthew Storey
LiveScore
Charlie McNeill is a striker with an eye for goal who could get first-team chances at Manchester United next season
Charlie McNeill is a striker with an eye for goal who could get first-team chances at Manchester United next season

Manchester United are yet to make a signing this summer, meaning there may be chances for youngsters to impress at Old Trafford next term.

New boss Erik ten Hag was always keen to blood academy products at Ajax, suggesting those making their way at United could be on the verge of a first-team breakthrough.

But who are the players who may make their name under the Dutchman in 2022-23? We take a look at five of their hottest prospects.

Hannibal Mejbri

Midfielder Hannibal Mejbri quickly endeared himself to Manchester United fans when he flew into Liverpool’s Naby Keita at Anfield last April.

Mejbri's combative cameo was a brief show of strength in an otherwise limp performance from the Red Devils, which saw them suffer a bruising 4-0 defeat to their local rivals.

United legend Gary Neville gave a glowing verdict: "He [Mejbri] demonstrated something, he showed something. He didn’t like the idea of Liverpool, at Anfield, passing it around him and the idea of Liverpool taking the mick out of him and his team-mates."

And this could be a big season for the Tunisian international, 19, as he looks to add to his three top-flight appearances.

Recently released Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic have both sung the praises of Mejbri, who himself admitted he can play anywhere.

"Whether that be at No8 or No6 or No10 or even on the wing. I think I’ve got the qualities to play all of those positions," he has said.

Hannibal Mejbri made his first Premier League start in the final-day defeat at Crystal Palace
Hannibal Mejbri made his first Premier League start in the final-day defeat at Crystal Palace

Alvaro Fernandez

Spanish teenager Alvaro Fernandez was named Under-23s Player of the Year at United last term and is an exciting young prospect.

Only 19, Fernandez made the bench four times under Ralf Rangnick but was never handed his full debut.

But the left-back will undoubtedly travel with the first team on their tour of Thailand and Australia and should be handed a chance to impress.

Given Luke Shaw’s injury problems and Alex Telles flattering to deceive, strong performances there could influence Ten Hag’s thinking.

Alejandro Garnacho

Alejandro Garnacho has already followed in the footsteps of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and current team-mate Marcus Rashford.

He was named the Young Player of the Year at United and rounded off an impressive season by making his debut as a substitute against Chelsea in April.

The 17-year-old was also instrumental in United’s FA Youth Cup final victory over Nottingham Forest as he scored twice.

Ex-United boss Rangnick said: "Alejandro Garnacho is a very talented, gifted player.

"He has to work hard and get physically stronger but technically on the ball he’s been training with us and you can see with every training session he’s getting better."

Shola Shoretire

Shola Shoretire has made five appearances for Manchester United
Shola Shoretire has made five appearances for Manchester United

Shola Shoretire was actually handed his United debut in February 2021 by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But since then, the 18-year-old has only gone on to make four more first-team appearances and he will want to add to that number quickly.

Shoretire has been overshadowed by team-mate Garnacho but still chipped in with eight goals in all competitions for the U-23s last season.

The Newcastle-born forward can play through the middle or out wide and will look at Anthony Elanga's emergence as an example of a pathway to follow.

He has recently signed with agent Jorge Mendes — a mark of his potential.

Charlie McNeill

If Charlie McNeill ever plays in a derby game away at Manchester City, he is sure to be on the end of a hostile reception.

The striker, 18, spent many years in City’s academy scoring bucket loads of goals, before signing for United and kissing their badge when he scored four against his former club in February 2021.

McNeill is a striker with a nose for goal and in a club short of natural marksmen, his chance could come at any moment.

Yet to make his debut for the Red Devils, Ten Hag’s desire to see youngsters thrive means the local teen is likely to be on the pre-season tour.

It is up to McNeill to take his chance and put himself in contention for selection later in the season.

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Manchester UnitedPremier League
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