Chong, Gomes & the top 10 teenage stars to watch at Man Utd

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Goal takes at a look at the bright young talents waiting in the wings at United, including some who have already made an impression on Jose Mourinho

Manchester United have a long history of producing players through their storied academy, with 3,912 consecutive first-team games stretching back to October 1937 featuring at least one former member of their youth system in the squad.

The likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay have been regulars in the United senior ranks this term as that trend continues, but the prospects remain good for a longer-term presence as well thanks to the strides being made by some of their current academy stars.

Kieran McKenna's free-scoring under-18s have remained largely unaffected by the graduation of many of their better players to Ricky Sbragia's under-23 squad, and that in itself says much about the quality on display in the younger ranks.

Below,  Goal  looks at 10 of the greatest teenage talents in the Manchester United system.

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    Aidan Barlow

    A goal-scoring attacking midfielder, Barlow is one of the most exciting young players on United’s books. He thrust himself into the spotlight with a hat-trick against Newcastle and two belters against Liverpool in the latter stages of a 2016-17 under-18 campaign in which he ended as top scorer and has netted nine more times this term. Few 18-year-olds exhibit such confidence with the ball at their feet.

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    Tahith Chong

    After overcoming a serious knee injury, Chong has recently made the step up to the reserve ranks and has continued to sparkle. His strength, speed and rangy running style make for a wonderful vision on the ball and he also possesses fantastic footballing instinct, rarely switching off and often making opposition sides pay for lapses of concentration.

    The Dutchman clearly has a fantastic future in the game, and his fearlessness makes him a great team-mate to have for those in the final third.

    Read our in-depth profile here: Who is Tahith Chong? The Man Utd starlet closing in on first-team debut

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    Angel Gomes

    With two first-team substitute appearances already under his belt, the 17-year-old is well known to Manchester United fans as one of their stars of the future. His wonderful ability on the ball and priceless vision more than make up for his diminutive stature, and he has made a seamless rise to reserve team football this season.

    No youngster is guaranteed to become a star at first-team level, but the England under-18 international appears destined to be a household name in the future.

    Read our in-depth profile here: Who is Angel Gomes? The Man Utd wonderkid with a big future

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    Mason Greenwood

    Some players spend their entire career attempting to master the ability to control a ball the way Greenwood can with his wand of a left foot. His rise in prominence in the under-18s this season has seen him net 15 goals in 17 appearances, including seven in his last four games as he has been employed as a centre-forward rather than his previous slot as a number 10.

    Still just 16, he has plenty more time to learn his trade but hopes are high for him.

    Read our in-depth profile here: Who is Mason Greenwood? Introducing the 16-year-old star turn of Man Utd's academy title win

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    Callum Gribbin

    After being called up for pre-season training by Louis van Gaal as a 16-year-old in 2015, Gribbin’s rise has long been anticipated by United fans. A fractured fibula in 2017 slowed his progress, but he has returned to the reserve side in recent months and made an immediate impact. Comfortable either as a winger or a number 10, Gribbin has great set-piece ability with his masterful left foot and has developed as an all-round player of late too.

    Read our in-depth profile here: Callum Gribbin: The majestic No.10 Man United nearly lost to Liverpool

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    Ethan Hamilton

    The young Scot caused a stir recently when he was called up to replace the injured Paul Pogba for the FA Cup trip to Huddersfield Town, and he has been likened to a young Roy Keane thanks to some of his performances for Ricky Sbragia’s reserves. More than happy to sit at the base of midfield, he also has a dangerous attacking quality from the heart of the pitch and he led the under-18s as captain with aplomb before progressing to U23 level.

    Read our in-depth profile here: Who is Ethan Hamilton? Introducing Pogba's replacement dubbed the 'next Roy Keane'

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    Lee O'Connor

    A two-footed defender who can play anywhere across the back line and carries a threat from set-pieces in the opposition box - what is not to love about Lee O’Connor?! The Republic of Ireland under-19 international looks equally comfortable as a full-back or in his favoured centre-back role, and it is on the left side that he has largely made his way through the United system so far despite being primarily right-footed.

    A commanding presence in either box, the 17-year-old goes toe-to-toe with all-comers despite his slender appearance.

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    Regan Poole

    Poole is another player who has already featured for United’s first team, making an appearance as a late substitute on the night Marcus Rashford scored twice on his own debut against Midtjylland. Since then the uncompromising Welsh centre-back has worked hard at reserve level and gone on loan for this season to Northampton Town. He has so far made 23 appearances for the League One outfit, and his professionalism and work-rate has drawn plaudits from the coaching staff at Sixfields.

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    Aliou Traore

    Snapped up from Paris Saint-Germain last summer on a four-year deal, Traore has left an impression already on those who follow United’s under-18s since gaining international clearance in December. He has been likened to Paul Pogba in the past, with his ability to cover ground quickly in the midfield area being one of his key assets. His strong presence at the base of midfield has made an immediate impact in the ranks of Kieran McKenna’s side.

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    Ro-Shaun Williams

    As a schoolboy Williams broke British sprinter Darren Campbell’s school record for the 100 metres, and his searing pace remains one of his main assets at the heart of the United reserve defence. Often donning the armband for Ricky Sbragia’s side, Williams leads the side with real authority and demonstrates the confidence and leadership of a player far beyond his 19 years.

    He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet too, and one would expect him to get first-team action somewhere, potentially out on loan, next season.