The U18s resume league duties against Wolves on Saturday, shortly before next Wednesday's FA Youth Cup fourth round tie with Burnley. We asked MUTV's resident Academy pundit Arthur Albistion to assess their season so far…
With new lads coming in and plenty of young ones in their first season full-time, it can take time to find their feet. Most seasons you have a settling-in period which leads to mixed results. The pleasing thing after the opening-day 3-1 defeat at Southampton was that we went to Tottenham and won by the same scoreline in the next game. That was the reaction [U18s boss] Paul McGuinness will have wanted.
It can be difficult getting the team to settle when there are foreign lads moving away from home, coming to a new country and learning a new language. But United manage it very well. The two Italians Michele Fornasier and Alberto Massacci, and French midfielder Paul Pogba came in after five or six games, but they’ve done well. I’ve been impressed with Pogba, who didn’t let his move from Le Havre affect him. He settled straightaway and has looked very good, scoring in the first FA Youth Cup game against Birmingham. His goal celebrations aren’t bad either!
We’ve been on the end of some defeats against Manchester City in recent years, so beating them comprehensively 3-0 – all scored in the first half – was pleasing. But the result that stands out for me was the 3-1 win over Liverpool. Swirling wind and driving rain made it difficult, but it was a great display, and let’s face it, it’s always nice to notch a win over them!
The boy done good
You don’t like to single players out at this level too often, but goalscorers or midfield players tend to catch the eye more than defenders. So if I had to nail my colours to the mast, I’d say Will Keane has stood out. He’s in fine goalscoring form, and his general play is excellent. But the whole team has made progress.
Coping with injuries
Like the first team, we’ve had quite a few absentees, so Paul McGuinness has had to chop and change his team. But that allows boys like Jesse Lingard and Larnell Cole, who are perhaps not yet physically on a par with