Who are the seven youngsters who have impressed Jose Mourinho enough to take them on Manchester United’s pre-season tour?
Scott McTominay is one of just a few young players outside the first team to feature in a United tour squad in recent years – even Marcus Rashford was nowhere to be seen in pre-season before he made his breakthrough under Louis van Gaal in 2015.
Mourinho’s hand has been forced by Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young and Rashford’s absence as they recover from their country’s seven games at the World Cup.
Man Utd 1-1 Club America
As it happened
But even following the last international tournament, in 2016, only four young players, Will Keane, Axel Tuanzebe, Andreas Pereira and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, travelled with United on their pre-season tour of China.
The addition of former Under-18s boss Kieran McKenna to Mourinho’s first-team coaching staff may have helped their cause. Here, we take a look at the seven up-and-coming youngsters who will hope to press their claim for a place in Mourinho’s senior squad for the 2018/19 campaign.
Signed from Feyenoord in 2016, Chong is the latest recipient of the Jimmy Murphy young player of the year award at Old Trafford.
The 18-year-old came on with half an hour remaining in United’s 1-1 draw with Club America on Friday morning, producing a fine cross in the lead-up to Juan Mata’s goal and looking extremely bright in a short cameo.
He scored a screamer in an FA Youth Cup clash with Southampton in December 2016, by which time he had already become somewhat of a social media hit for an even better goal against Wolves Under-18s, and compilation videos of his tricks and skills while playing for United’s youth sides.
Chong is a winger by trade and has played on both sides in United’s academy – as well as in training with the first team, something afforded to him by Mourinho after impressing and scoring on his Under-23s debut against Spurs last season.
Gomes’ name has been mentioned in United circles for some time, especially since he became the first player born in the 2000s to make a Premier League appearance when he came on for his debut against Crystal Palace in May 2017.
That’s not the first record the 17-year-old has broken. He became the youngster player to net a hat-trick for United’s Under-18s in 2016, despite beginning the game on the bench.
An attacking midfielder whose style has been compared with Ronaldinho, Gomes was a member of England’s Under-17 World Cup-winning side in October 2017, and two months later signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford. He played just a few minutes in United’s draw with Club America on Friday.
As a 16-year-old, striker Greenwood is already impressing with players above his age, scoring 17 times in 19 Under-18 games for McKenna last season, having already caught the eye of academy coaches after starring in United Under-16s’ tour of Hong Kong in 2016.
Greenwood’s dream came true on Friday morning as he played the last 15 minutes in United’s draw with Club America, though goalscoring opportunities were scarce in Phoenix.
Known for taking penalties and free-kicks with his wrong foot, Greenwood has shown his mettle already by bouncing back from a serious injury to help England Under-17s qualify for this summer’s European Championships – but he missed the tournament finals to stay at home and study for his GCSEs.
Garner was England Under-17s’ captain during their run to the semi-finals at this summer’s European Championships, and shortly after signed his first professional contract with United.
The box-to-box midfielder put pen to paper only a year after making his Under-18s debut for United, earning himself a nomination for the Jimmy Murphy Award as well as taking the captain’s armband when regular skipper Lee O’Connor was absent.
Williams made the bench for United during the latter days of the Louis van Gaal era against West Ham in March 2016, and although he has not seen the first-team action since then, he has made a habit of getting to the top early.
In one of the most physically-demanding positions on the pitch for a youngster, centre-half Williams made his Under-21 debut aged just 16 – with his blistering pace helping him deal with older and stronger forwards.
A year earlier, he broke Darren Campbell’s 100-metre schoolboy record, which had stood for 25 years – although he later admitted Timothy Fosu-Mensah was the fastest youngster in the United squad.
Bohui moved from Brentford in 2016 after rising through the club’s academy ranks, and impressed so much in his first year at Old Trafford both France and the Ivory Coast expressed an interest in attempting to lure him to represent them at international level.
The pacy forward was called into United’s Under-23s last season where he failed to get off the mark from nine starts, but he did manage an impressive double in the UEFA Youth League against Benfica including a fine solo goal to equalise.
Hamilton is following in the footsteps of a former United midfielder, Darren Fletcher, in being plucked from Scottish boys club Hutchison Vale before moving to Old Trafford.
That move came three years ago, and since then the midfielder, described as “dynamic” by Manchester United’s website, has got closer to Mourinho’s first team than most – making the bench for the FA Cup win over Huddersfield last season when Paul Pogba was ruled out.
The tall Scot has also played at centre-half for United’s youth sides, and signed professional terms with the club earlier this month.