Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will decide this week which Man United kids will be sent out on loan next season… so will academy gems like James Garner, Tahith Chong and Dylan Levitt be sent to the Championship or beyond for more game time?
- The United manager will decide which youngsters will be sent out on loan
- Quite a few academy graduates will struggle to get minutes at OId Trafford
- So a season with a Championship club or elsewhere could boost their progress
- Likes of Garner, Chong and Levitt have featured for United in the Europa League
- But with club returning to the Champions League, opportunities will be limited
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will decide this week which of Manchester United’s young players he will allow out on loan next season.
With the Old Trafford club back in the Champions League, Solskjaer knows he needs a strong squad capable of competing on multiple fronts and will target reinforcements in various areas over the summer.
And these new arrivals may well block off opportunities for some of those players hoping to make the leap from academy ranks to first-team squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will decide this week which of Man United’s young players to loan out
Solskjaer hasn’t been afraid to give young players their chance, especially in the Europa League. For the away group game against Astana, the line-up was (back row, left to right) Axel Tuanzebe, Ethan Laird, Tahith Chong, Luke Shaw, Lee Grant, Di’Shon Bernard; (front row, left to right) Dylan Levitt, Jesse Lingard, Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Angel Gomes
The likes of Teden Mengi have recently trained with the United first team and so Solskjaer may well keep them at the club for next season.
Others will find opportunities few and far between and would undoubtedly benefit from a season out on loan to gain that valuable match experience.
Sportsmail takes a look at some of the United youngsters who could go out on loan in the coming weeks.
19, defensive midfielder, seven first-team games
Regarded as one of the gems coming through the United academy, it’s little surprise that Garner has been attracting plenty of loan inquiries ahead of next season.
The 19-year-old has already had interest from Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers, as well as two teams currently contesting the Championship play-offs in Swansea City and Cardiff City.
His destination could depend on whether either of those reach the Premier League, as United want the midfielder to have as much game time as possible.
Garner is regarded by some as a possible long-term successor for Nemanja Matic at the base of United’s midfield and he has featured in four Europa League games so far this season, starting three of them.
But his box-to-box qualities are shown by a surprisingly good scoring record of eight in 10 games for United’s Under-23 team this season.
Midfielder James Garner on the ball during United’s Premier League game at Norwich
18, right-back, two first-team appearances
Laird was promoted into first-team training not long after football’s resumption last month having featured in a couple of Europa League matches earlier in the season.
Any decision on Laird’s loan may well depend on United’s transfer business over the summer as Diogo Dalot has been linked with a move away.
If that happens, it may be wise to keep Laird at Old Trafford to serve as back-up to Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right side of the defence. He can also play left-back with the same attacking instinct.
Having formed an impressive full-back pairing with Brandon Williams in the U23s, Laird will want to follow Williams in making the step up and has previously said: ‘I can hack this level of football.’
Ethan Laird in action for United during their Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade
19, central midfield, one first-team appearance
The Welshman’s one taste of first-team football at United came in that match out in Kazakhstan before Christmas but he is certainly highly thought of.
For one thing, Wales manager Ryan Giggs sought advice from his old team-mate Nicky Butt, the head of United’s academy, before picking Levitt for the Wales squad last year.
Chances are he would have made his Wales debut in the March friendlies against the United States and Austria before coronavirus intervened.
Levitt did well against Astana, completing 100 passes – more than anyone else – but was then laid low by illness.
With his strength fully recovered after quite some time off, he is tipped to make quite an impression in the Championship if he goes out on loan.
Midfielder Dylan Levitt chases the ball during United’s Europa League game against Astana
20, right winger, 15 first-team appearances
Having signed a new contract through until 2022 just before lockdown, it will be interesting to observe the next stage of Chong’s development.
He’s featured in 15 first-team games over the last couple of seasons but on the whole his opportunities have been restricted to cameos in the league, the Europa and the early round of cup competitions.
With United looking to strengthen over the summer in precisely the area he plays in – potentially by signing Jadon Sancho – Chong will really need to impress in the upcoming Europa League games if he gets a chance.
Otherwise a loan next season will surely be the best option to keep him ticking over.
But it will be tricky to accept with his successor as winner of the club’s Jimmy Murphy best academy player award, Mason Greenwood, already moving past him at a younger age.
Tahith Chong in action in the Europa League tie against Club Brugge just before lockdown
19, central midfielder, one first-team appearance
Galbraith was handed his first-team debut against Astana but only for a couple of minutes off the bench at the end of the game.
Indeed, the 19-year-old midfielder has played the same amount for his country, Northern Ireland, making his senior debut in a friendly against Luxembourg last September.
Nonetheless, he is highly-rated in both camps and was described as a ‘magnificent prospect’ by Jim Magilton, Northern Ireland’s elite performance director.
With United well-stocked in the central midfield department, it could be a good time to go on loan and get some more experience under his belt.
That would also be the best way to ensure further caps for Northern Ireland in the near-future.
Ethan Galbraith could profit from further game time on loan to further his development
19, centre-back, one first-team appearance
Another to make his debut in Kazakhstan though having scored an unfortunate own goal it probably wasn’t as memorable for him.
But with United looking to overhaul their centre-back options this summer, potentially selling Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo, surely one of the youngsters could get a more regular chance.
Teden Mengi is a name often tipped for big things but Bernard isn’t far behind. Again though, at 19, he could maybe do with a year in the EFL to better understand the game.
Contracted at Old Trafford until 2022, Bernard has the time frame to take a year at another club and then return to United to see what progress his game has made.
Centre-half Di’Shon Bernard featured in that match against Astana but scored an own goal
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