Another who has come through the ranks at United, the youngster shifted position to great effect when making the step up to the Reserves.

Primarily a right-sided midfielder at youth-team level, he forced his way into the Under-21 side as a left-back and never looked back, earning a dream first-team debut at Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup. Extremely tenacious, he patrols the flank effectively and is capable of supplying inviting crosses with either foot after working hard on his left side. Not only is he always full of running but he is an excellent striker of a dead ball as well. His skills were never more evident than in the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup in January 2015, when he won Player of the Tournament after shining for the victors. After signing professional terms, a series of eye-catching performances proved he is up to the challenge posed by the older age level with Joyce's side. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson's elevation to the senior squad opened a space and he took it with both hands. His energetic displays earned a debut as a second-half substitute against Shrewsbury and he spoke of his great excitement afterwards. Louis van Gaal was impressed with his contribution and, with Borthwick-Jackson ruled out, he was handed a maiden start in the second leg of the Europa League tie with Midtjylland at Old Trafford. It was a dream come true for Riley, who said: "I wanted to try to go out and play my own game, as though it were an Under-21 match, and did not want to put too much pressure on myself. "I wanted to just go out and enjoy the experience and play like I can. It's definitely more nerve-wracking. I tried not to take the fans in. When you’re actually playing and you’re concentrating on the game, you kind of zone out from the fans. It’s only when you have a throw-in or there’s a stoppage in play that you realise and think ‘wow’. When you’re playing, it’s okay." Riley ended the season at right-back with the Under-21s, helping the team retain the nationwide title, and he managed 19 appearances for the champions in total. He continued to impress in the 2016/17 season and was one of the star performers in the Reserves before sustaining a hamstring injury, even scoring a rare goal at Tottenham. A loan move proved his reward once he had returned to fitness as he clinched a first spell away from the club with League One side Sheffield United, only to suffer a dislocated shoulder while at Bramall Lane. It cut short his stay with a team destined to win the title but it failed to dampen his enthusiasm, nor affect his morale, as he outlined a determination to come back better than ever.

Read Less About Joe Riley
  • Position


  • Country


  • Date of birth

  • Joined


Transfer news: Riley joins Bradford Article

The full story on the young defender sealing a move from United to the managerless League One club.