United member Nathan Thomas blogs on the triumphant team-mates waiting to welcome Nick Powell...
If summer signing Nick Powell plays for Manchester United’s reserves in his maiden season, the talented teenager will find himself in good company.
While a clean sweep of trophies for the second string would never stir the loins like Champions League or Premier League success, it provides hope for the future and proof of the youthful talent in United’s ranks – now bolstered by the arrival from Crewe. As you should know – and I’ll be disappointed if you don’t – Warren Joyce’s reserves squad won the Barclays Premier Reserve League North title, the Barclays Premier Reserve League play-off and the Manchester Senior Cup last season. Seizing on every chance of silverware put before them, Joyce’s charges carried an air of thoroughbred winners.
Many of the triumphant players have been at United since they were wearing short trousers off the field. The likes of Zeki Fryers, Jesse Lingard, Tom Thorpe and the Keane twins (Will and Michael) have all been at the club since their schooldays. Tutored relentlessly in how to play the game ‘the United way’, these lads have transferred their knowledge on to the stage where it matters most – on to the professional pitch.
The eleven who lined up at the Etihad Stadium for the Senior Cup Final win over City contained four Manchester-born players and a further three from the north-west. These players very much understand what the club is all about having been immersed in its culture from a young age. They know what it means to play for United and this can only bode well.
Ryan Tunnicliffe is a local case in point. A gutsy midfielder with an insatiable appetite for victory, he is capable of surging runs from the engine room and is very much a ‘scruff-of-the-neck’ type player.
There also some classy imports currently progressing through the Reds’ ranks. Consider, for example, the reserve-team skipper Davide Petrucci, whose finesse, guile and Italian