The Man United wonderkids who could save Erik ten Hag millions: FA Youth Cup hero set for first-team chance

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag is currently running the rule over his Manchester United squad with plenty to mull over ahead of the opening of the transfer window.

However, the Red Devils do not need to splash millions on every position to improve the new manager’s squad.

United have long boasted a fantastic academy with no clearer indication of the quality being homegrown at Old Trafford than the Under-18s winning the FA Youth Cup.

Therefore Ten Hag could do worse than handing opportunities to the brightest starlets the academy has to offer.

Ahead of the new Premier League season, we look at three United youngsters who could be set to shine in 2022-23…

Alejandro Garnacho

 (Manchester United via Getty Imag)
(Manchester United via Getty Imag)

At the tender age of 17, Garnacho has already made his mark inside the United academy and could easily make the step up to senior football next season.

A stunning record of 14 goals and six assists across all competitions in 2021-22 exemplified why the Red Devils worked so hard to bring him over from Atletico Madrid in 2020.

After scoring a brace in the Youth Cup final win over Forest, Garnacho was awarded the club’s Young Player of the Year trophy - previously won by Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Marcus Rashford.

Currently impressing in Argentina’s youth ranks, the midfielder can step up next season as a wildcard option for Ten Hag with the new manager likely to give Rashford and Jadon Sancho the chance to impress before plundering the market for a wide-man.

Ten Hag is also no stranger to brewing these sorts of midfielders given his previous success with Hakim Ziyech and Ryan Gravenberch.

James Garner

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

One midfielder undoubtedly ready for the Premier League is Garner.

After two years on loan in the Championship, the 21-year-old was a crucial part of the Nottingham Forest team which won promotion in May.

An Under-21 international with England, he therefore has more experience than the likes of Hannibal Mejbri and Charlie Savage who may also fancy a run in the first-team next season.

Crucially for Garner, he is a technically-gifted midfielder at a club lacking in options in that area.

Ten Hag will struggle to fork out on world-class replacements for each of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata. The academy will have to pull its weight in rebuilding the team and Garner is well-placed to take the opportunity.

Shola Shoretire

 (Manchester United via Getty Imag)
(Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Successive United managers have tipped attacking midfielder Shoretire to break out at Old Trafford and it would be no surprise to see Ten Hag back the youngster too.

A year ahead of Garnacho, the 18-year-old already has five first-team appearances under his belt and has featured off the bench in the final games of both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

Whether Shoretire has to wait that long for a runout under Ten Hag remains to be seen but he scored eight and set up ten goals for the Under-23s this campaign, including a pair of assists in the EFL Trophy against senior opposition.

United have only Rashford, Sancho and Anthony Elanga to call upon for his wide positions, presenting a great chance for this ex-Manchester City academy starlet to make his mark.

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