Mengi, Shoretire, Mejbri and the Manchester United wonderkids to watch in the FA Youth Cup semi-finals
Manchester United are in the FA Youth Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2012 and are hoping to book their place in the final and win the competition for a record-breaking 11th time.
United know they are in for a tough test as they look to win the competition for the first time since 2011. They face Chelsea,who have won seven of the last 10 FA Youth Cups.
It has been a competition in whichmanyexciting, young talents havegone on to make a name for themselves and this season is no different. The current crop only have to look at the club’s history to get motivation to push them on to an 11th title.
“You can’t get better examples than Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, the Nevilles, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, of players playing at the top level who went on to have amazing careers and win trophies and are still successful now after football,” Under-18s coach Neil Ryan said.
“That’s a carrot that dangles in front of our boys. You work hard, you apply yourself right, you’re a good human being, a good person on and off the pitch, train well, live well, work hard then there’s your examples.
“There’s a healthy rivalry with Chelsea, it’s going to be an exciting game for us, exciting for all the fans and everyone watching and gives our players an opportunity to go and perform on a stage and it will be a test for them.”
Here we look at four of the players to watch out for ahead of Friday night’s semi-final.
Many United fans will be already familiar with Mengias his impressive displays at youth level have seen him promoted to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team squad.
The assured centre-back was captain of the FA Youth Cup side, playing every minute of the four games before the competition was halted due to Covid-19and during the suspension he pushed up to the seniors on a permanent basis, beingnamed in thePremier League squad for this campaign.
His calm and confident defending helped United keep three clean sheets in their four FA Youth Cup games to progress to the semi-final. He’s good in the air and very capableplaying out from the back. His demeanour and personality saw him handed the captain’s armband and he has shown he is a strong leader, especially in such a young group.
The forward is one of the youngest in the group and seen as anexciting prospect. He’s comfortable on either foot and can operate anywhere across the front line, although he prefers playing on the wing. Shoretire made the step up to Neil Wood’s U23 side this season - despite still only being 16 - and hasn’t looked out of place despite moving up an age group.
The last time he featured in this competition he had spent the day at school before scoring against Wigan at Old Trafford to help send United into the semi-finals. He’s got plenty to learn but he’s already standing out amongst his peers despite being considerably younger than a number of them.
The latest recipient of Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year awardis already following in the footsteps of some of the brightest young talents to come out of the club. He missed out on participating in the FA Youth Cup last term due to injury but has madea flying start in the new campaign, terrorising defences with his devastating pace.
Gary Neville described his goal against Salford City in the EFL Trophy as Thierry Henry-esque and it’s easy to see why he’s drawing comparisons with the famous Frenchman.
He has already caught the eye of Solskjaer and was part of the first-team squad for apre-season friendly against Aston Villa. His vision, movement and pace have made him a standout for the U23sand he just needs to tidy up his finishing to take it to the next level.
Mejbri made headlines in this competition when he silenced the Leeds fans who had been taunting him with a dominant performance at Old Trafford.
His £9 million($11m) arrival from Monaco in 2019 meantthere would beplenty of focus on the attacking midfielder. So far he’s impressed with his pace, close control and a fearless energy which means he’s not afraid to take on any opponent.
He’s stepped up from the U18s to the U23s this season and shone in the EFL Trophy against Salford City, showing that he is more than capable of competing at a higher level. His temper sometimes gets the better of him and he’s been known to vent his frustrations tohis own team-mates and the opposition when decisions don’t go his way.
Source : goal.com
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