Under-23 Player of the Year nominees Angel Gomes, James Garner and Tahith Chong

Vote for Under-23s Player of the Year

Saturday 04 May 2019 10:00

Three young Manchester United players are in the frame for the Denzil Haroun trophy, which will be awarded to the Reds' best performer at Under-23 level in 2018/19.

Demi Mitchell won last year's award, pipping Kieran O'Hara and Ethan Hamilton to the prize, and the left-back's successor will be either Tahith Chong, James Garner or Angel Gomes.

Netherlands Under-21 international Chong is the reigning Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year, while Gomes lifted that trophy in 2016/17.

You can vote for your Under-23 Player of the Year now in our official app.

Voting will close at 23:59 BST on Wednesday 8 May.

The Player of the Year candidates were interviewed by MUTV, for a video to be shown on Thursday night.


The winger was effective on both flanks and his early-season form earned him a maiden call-up to the first-team bench for the Champions League home match against Juventus in October.

A goal in the opening day draw at Fulham was followed by a sublime free-kick to break the deadlock at Middlesbrough in September. In addition to some eye-catching displays in the UEFA Youth League, Chong bagged a brace in a 3-0 victory over Sunderland and was looking in confident mood, taking defenders on and showing his skills and acceleration.

He started 2019 in positive fashion with a senior debut in the Emirates FA Cup win over Reading at Old Trafford and followed this up with another goal at Under-23s level, in a home reverse to Fulham. More evidence of his ability to turn it on in European competition came in the impressive 3-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain that sealed qualification, against the odds, in the Premier League International Cup as he fired home two goals in the opening quarter of an hour.

In March, the 19-year-old made a Premier League bow as a late substitute against Southampton and came on in the most dramatic of circumstances as United knocked PSG's first team out of the Champions League at Parc des Princes, making one aggressive sliding challenge on former United winger Angel Di Maria as the Reds defended stoutly in a lengthy period of stoppage time. 

The Curacao-born youngster found the net for Ricky Sbragia's side again in a 5-0 victory over Newcastle United in April, when the team clicked and played some devastating attacking football, before ending the Premier League 2 campaign by earning a penalty in the 3-2 loss to Wolves.

It has certainly been a season to remember for Chong, as he has made his big breakthrough, and he will look to continue his development.


Often captain of Sbragia's side, the clever playmaker was able to regularly show off his ability on the ball. He started the campaign brightly, scoring in each of the first two games against Fulham and Aston Villa, and grabbed the only goal with a cracker in a 1-0 success against Stoke City at Old Trafford at the end of August.

While gaining experience in the UEFA Youth League with Nicky Butt's team, he was never afraid to take on responsibility and provided a cool head from the penalty spot - converting a stoppage-time winner at Young Boys and, in the final Premier League 2 match, cheekily dinking a 'Panenka'-style effort into the Wolves net.

Despite being forced to deal with some physical opponents, who often resorted to fouling somebody who is comfortable in possession and able to turn quickly in tight spaces, Gomes remained a key provider of assists and goals, setting up Mason Greenwood's first Under-23s strike at Wolves before netting in the home loss to Newcastle in November. Another calmly taken penalty at Reading secured three points on the road in the following month.

A glimpse of first-team action under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was provided on Boxing Day when Gomes was a late substitute against Huddersfield Town, and he has been a member of the matchday squad on a number of occasions since the Norwegian took charge.

Regular senior outings remain the goal for somebody who made their United debut as a 16-year-old and he ended the Premier League 2 campaign in tremendous form. A domineering display at St James' Park, as he pulled the strings and toyed with his markers, highlighted his special talents as Newcastle were put to the sword and beaten by five goals on their home patch. More evidence of Gomes' quality was supplied against Wolves as he carved out chance after chance for his team-mates against the league winners.

A clever operator who will be all the better for his experiences at Under-23s level in 2018/19.

Angel Gomes joins in the celebrations as Tahith Chong is mobbed after scoring at Middlesbrough.


An all-action midfielder who is very highly regarded within the club, Garner has been with the Under-23s since the start of the season despite being a second-year scholar and still eligible for Neil Ryan's side. He did also feature for the Under-18s and is nominated for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year as well.

An ability to help dictate the tempo of a game, and pass with authority and precision, is assisted by real leadership qualities as Garner was able to make his mark against older opponents. He scored in the UEFA Youth League triumph over Juventus during a splendid team showing at Under-19s level and he has regularly trained with the first team.

After being on the bench, a moment to savour came when he was handed a debut as an injury-time substitute at Crystal Palace in February and he earned comparisons with Michael Carrick during Solskjaer's post-match press conference at Selhurst Park.

There is certainly some grit to his game as well as the Birkenhead-born teenager makes some meaty challenges and is learning his trade from the best at the Aon Training Complex.

By continuing to represent, and captain, England at youth level, his career remains on a steep upward curve after signing a new contract last summer and he has thrived on being handed extra defensive responsibility in midfield when often being selected alongside more attacking flair players. Performing at a consistently high level in Premier League 2, he is ahead of schedule and handled the rigours of competing in the age group remarkably well.

James Garner has shown maturity beyond his years this season.


It is now time to have your say on who collects the trophy on Thursday 9 May.

Vote for Tahith, James or Angel now in the official app.

*Appearances and goals statistics in this article are for Premier League 2 only.