Gomes, Gribbin and the top five teenage stars to watch at Man Utd

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Which of the Red Devils' promising talents should supporters most get excited about? Goal counts down five young gems to keep an eye on

While the gold-plated success of the Class of '92 was something of a one-off, it was by no means a complete oddity. Manchester United Football Club is renowned for its long list of youth products who have made it at the top end of the game.

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The challenge for the Old Trafford giants is to maintain that reputation with continued success stories at development level, and there are some decent bets among their current crop. First-team regular and England striker Marcus Rashford is far from the only teenager on United's books who could be considered a young man to watch very closely in the future.

Goal selects five talents to keep an eye on.


Tahith Chong, Feyenoord, 20160123

The Dutch youngster may well be in the midst of a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury playing for the under-18s side against Everton in January, but he remains one of the most talked-about prospects at Carrington.

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A tall, thin, deceptively quick attacker, Chong stands out now only for his flowing afro haircut but also for the wonderful close control he is capable of on the run with his wand of a left foot.

Usually found starting on the right of the attacking midfield line, the 17-year-old has also been used from the left at times by United’s under-18s boss Kieran McKenna and looks equally at home in either position. He can finish, too, with his sensational effort with his back to goal against Southampton at Old Trafford in the FA Youth Cup proving a YouTube favourite.


Timothy Fosu-Mensah Manchester United

Most United fans will, of course, need little introduction to Timo Fosu-Mensah, with him having broken into the first-team squad under Louis van Gaal in the second half of 2015-16.

But that only really tells half of the story for the Dutch utility man, with his appearances at right-back and centre-back in the Premier League masking the fact he can also play as an all-action central midfielder.

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It was in the engine room that he played the majority of his football before his call-up to senior level, and his quality in the midfield combined with that flexibility could yet be the making of him.

His standing in Jose Mourinho’s plans may be a concern, but there are few that believe Fosu-Mensah will not make it at the top level at some point.


Angel Gomes Man Utd

For many observers of United’s youth ranks, Angel Gomes is the next great hope, with his seemingly natural instinct for the No. 10 role making him a much talked-about prospect.

Born in England, Gomes’ father Gil represented Portugal at every age group between under-16 and under-21 during a nomadic career which ended with stints at north-west clubs Middlewich Town, Salford City and Hyde United.

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However, Angel could be set for much greater things if his often-mesmeric ability on the ball can be harnessed over the next few years. He drifts into space between the lines with consummate ease and has an excellent right foot, an eye for a pass, and a real self-confidence in front of goal.

It says much about Gomes that at the age of 16 he is an England youth regular, a first choice for United’s under-18s and is even the top scorer this season for Kieran McKenna’s side with 11 goals.


Callum Gribbin England U17 29082014

Players with Callum Gribbin’s level of skill on the ball are worth their weight in gold and it was a huge boost to many at Old Trafford that he signed a new four-year deal with United in 2015 when it looked for all money as though he was set for a move to arch-rivals Liverpool.

The wiry attacking midfielder has not just immense quality on the ball but also an arrogant confidence when taking on challengers. His ability to beat a man either with pace or with trickery makes him one of the most watchable players of his age group.

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He also has a wonderful set-piece repertoire in him too, with opponents regularly punished for conceding free-kick within shooting range.

Such is his development in recent times, he has also become a regular at under-23 level under Nicky Butt this term despite still being eligible for under-18s football.


Axel Tuanzebe FA Cup Man Utd v Wigan

It didn’t take long for Axel Tuanzebe to win over Mourinho in the Portuguese manager’s first game in charge of United at Wigan last July.

“You can play 90 minutes or one minute and sometimes one minute is enough,” the two-time Champions League winner said. “With Axel – 10 minutes is enough! The potential is there, you could see it immediately.”

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The commanding centre-back has since then been an ever-present and captain for Nicky Butt’s under-23s and he was even given his first-team debut as a second-half substitute in the FA Cup win over Wigan in January.

Of all of United’s young prospects, Tuanzebe has perhaps the best hope of breaking into Mourinho’s thoughts on a more regular basis in the next couple of years having demonstrated his excellent man-marking qualities and dominance in the air with some regularity.