Callum Gribbin was just 16 years old when the prospect of him becoming one of the few players to move from Manchester United to Liverpool looked to be growing by the day.
Already well known to United’s youth followers at the time, the left-footer announced himself to a wider audience with a brace in the 3-0 FA Youth Cup win over Hull City at Old Trafford in January 2015. But within weeks he was being linked with a switch to Merseyside, and at one stage it seemed nailed on that he would swap Manchester for Liverpool.
Unhappy at his lack of starts in the Under-18s side then managed by Paul McGuinness, Gribbin began following Liverpool’s Twitter account shortly after rumours of a possible departure had begun and United fans started to fear the worst.
But by July that year, just days after being included in a host of first-team training sessions by Louis van Gaal, he was proudly announcing a new four-year deal at United and now, aged 19, he remains one of the most highly-rated youngsters at Old Trafford.
A majestic left foot helps to make Gribbin a tremendously attractive footballer, with his set-piece skills marking him out as a natural talent. Having an ability to dribble without the ball ever being more than a few feet away from him doesn’t do much harm either, and his elusiveness makes him a nightmare for defenders.
His slender gait can be deceiving, as he regularly shows a decent knack for riding challenges when in full flight and looking to cause havoc, while he’s already shown a healthy supply of mental fortitude after bouncing back from a broken fibula, suffered in training last August.
In a shortened under-23 campaign this time around, he netted twice in seven starts and became Ricky Sbragia’s first-choice No.10. Most markedly, the former England under-16 international's most recent goal was a late winner from the penalty spot against Liverpool at Anfield!
Gribbin had played the vast majority of his first season at reserve level as a right-sided midfielder, largely cutting in off the flank to add a new angle of attack, but he had previously thrived in the No.10 spot in McGuinness’ academy ranks.
He was also an ever-present for Nicky Butt’s under-19 side in the UEFA Youth League in 2015-16, scoring a delightful free-kick in the 3-0 win at PSV which also included a pair of goals for a young man by the name of Marcus Rashford.
In an academy containing the likes of Rashford, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Scott McTominay, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and more, Gribbin has always had the ability to stand out and that says a lot about his natural ability.
Add in the developments he has made in terms of his decision-making and physical approach of late, and the Salford native is ready to push on a full 10 years after first arriving at Manchester United.