Who is Manchester United's Young Player of the Season?

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In a season to forget, the emergence of some great academy talents has been one of the highs of the Old Trafford side's campaign

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at Manchester United in December he insisted that he would give opportunities to young players where and when necessary, and while the Norwegian's reign at Old Trafford thus far has split opinion there can be no doubt that he has stuck to his word on academy products.

Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood were all handed first-team debuts under Solskjaer, while Angel Gomes was also brought back into the fold more than 18 months on from his only previous appearance in the Premier League.

What's more, there was great news lower down the ranks as the likes of D'Mani Mellor, Di'Shon Bernard and Brandon Williams were promoted into the reserve team side, while players such as Dion McGhee, Dylan Levitt and Mipo Odubeko continued their excellent progress through the system.

Here, Goal picks the top three under-21s donning Manchester United shirts at various levels in 2018-19, in descending order. But what do you think? Feel free to join the debate in the comment box at the bottom of the page!


3. TAHITH CHONG


Tahith Chong Manchester United 2018-19

Tahith Chong's progress in recent seasons gained its true reward in January when the 19-year-old came on for his senior debut against Reading in the FA Cup. He would also go on to play the closing stages of United's memorable triumph away to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and make two further appearances in the Premier League.

The Dutchman's performance at Huddersfield in May was particularly noteworthy as his fearless attacking style was one of United's biggest threats during an otherwise dismal second half for the Red Devils.

At youth level he proved to be the difference time and again, scoring key goals in the Under-23s' draw at Fulham, victory away to Middlesbrough and wins over Sunderland and Newcastle. He also netted in UEFA Youth League fixtures against Valencia and Young Boys as United reached the Round of 16, scoring 10 goals in 24 games across all youth levels in total.

His distinctive look, searing pace and attacking instincts helped to make him an instant hit with United fans when he made it to first-team level, and his name leant itself to a quick win with the vocal support in the north-east corner of Old Trafford. Altogether now... "One Chong, we've only got one Chong!"


2. JAMES GARNER


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn't about to be overly-protective of James Garner after handing the 17-year-old his senior bow at Crystal Palace in February.

"I believe he's got the chance to have a great future," said the manager after Garner's late introduction in the 3-1 win at Selhurst Park. "He knows we believe in him. We've got great faith in him as the next Michael Carrick. I know he's young, I know it's not fair on kids to compare them to great players like Michael was, but he's in the same mould."

The youngster certainly has the level head of Carrick, with his maturity in the centre of the park being his stand-out quality in a fantastic season at multiple levels. His anticipation and passing range also make him a real contender for first-team football in the months and years to come.

He even switched to play as a centre-back at times for Neil Ryan's Under-18s this term, turning in a wonderful performance there as United ended Chelsea's five-year FA Youth Cup reign in December. In all, Garner played 27 games in 2018-19, scoring a key late penalty in a win at Liverpool and also finding the net in a 4-1 win over Juventus in the UEFA Youth League.


1. MASON GREENWOOD


Mason Greenwood might be the best talent to come through Manchester United's academy in the last couple of decades. His 30 goals in 29 games at youth level this season tell only part of the story of his rise to first-team recognition.

Being two-footed, with pace to burn and a steady eye for goal, the 17-year-old has decimated many a defence in the past 12 months. His game-winning hat-trick against Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup was one of the highlights of United's season across the entire club.

“Mason’s the match-winner, it’s clear. You can see he’s going to get you goals and he’s always dangerous," Under-18s boss Neil Ryan said afterwards. “We’ve got great staff who are looking after him on and off the pitch, and for ourselves as coaching staff it’s our jobs to make sure we get him to the next level. It’s going to be a challenge for him, but a great challenge and he’s had a great four or five months so far and we’ve got to keep working with him.”

Thereafter, Greenwood went on to even bigger and better things, making his first-team debut in the final moments of the dramatic late win at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League, then playing the full 90 minutes in United's final game of the season against Cardiff City at Old Trafford. On that otherwise-disappointing afternoon, Greenwood was by far the most thrilling performer for the Red Devils, and the future looks likely to include many more appearances on the big stage for a player who just keeps getting better.

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