The Class of ’16

Throughout its history Manchester United have had a tradition of integrating the youth and creating their own stars through their academy. Whether it is the Busby Babes, to Fergie’s fledglings, there have been some amazing stars coming through United’s academy. Although nowhere near the quality that was produced through the Class of ’92”, well not as far as we know. But this group of players could turn out to become not the next Class of ’92” but the first “Class of ‘16”. This could be the best batch of homegrown and youth players since that historic class.

James Weir looks much like Paul Scholes did at the time. A smaller build with a great touch who is very skilled distributing the ball. Although it is very unlikely that there will ever be another as good as Paul Scholes was, James Weir shows a lot of promise, and has the ability to step into a midfield full of class and take over the centre of the park for years to come.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could honestly have been the left back of the future, if only it weren’t for Luke Shaw being less than two years older than him occupying the same position. This is why I strongly believe that he, Cameron B-J, should be tested as both a midfield partner for James Weir or a central partnership for Axel Tuanzabe.

Axel Tuanzabe looks to be the most promising player this class has to offer. Although being a first year scholar he was already the captain of the U-18 side and looks to be a quality defender to marshal the defense.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah. What a player. His first start in the first team he looked the more comfortable of the two center-halves (the other being Daley Blind) at said position. He doesn’t look set for much more first team action barring injury to either Blind or Smalling, but is the ideal partner for the later.

Donald Love is a good squad player who prefers on the right, the Scottish defender is unlikely to become a week in week out player as he has many players ahead of him in all positions he can play. He can play anywhere along the back line and as a holding midfielder, although he prefers to play as a right back. He looks a reliable squad utility player, but cannot be seen as much more than that with the talent ahead of him in the pecking order.

Guillermo Varela is the right back of the future for Manchester United. He has pace, he is a great attacking threat, and is above average defensively which may only get better each time he plays and trains. He and Luke Shaw look like the fullbacks of the future and could be one of the best sets of fullbacks United have had in the premiership era.

Marcus Rashford you beauty. I don’t know how to describe him. 2 goals a piece in both his Europa League debut as well as his Premier League debut, against Arsenal nonetheless. He has a great combination of speed, skill, a good shot, and always just seems to be at the right place at the right time. He can play as both the lone striker, as a winger, or even with another striker up top.

 

Now there are other players who have now been working with the first team for a while, or were just bought and brought into the first team.

Memphis Depay was bought this past summer to replace the uninspired Angel Di Maria. After a horrid start to the campaign he looks as if he is finally finding his feet at Manchester United. He is the inverted winger who can also play in the middle but playing on the left and cutting in onto his right foot is his preferred style.

With Anthony Martial nobody has found his best position thus far. It could be argued that his best position is that also occupied by Memphis on the left wing, but he has also played well on the right wing and as the number 9. I think he excels on a wing where he can take on players in space.

Adnan Januzaj has been given very few chances by Louis van Gaal after excelling under David Moyes you can only wonder what he must do to be able to get his chance. With all the attacking injuries you think he would get a shot at his preferred number 10 role or at least as an inverted right winger, but LvG tends to still believe that he is a striker out and out, which he is not.

Andreas Pereira is a great talent who is very young but isn’t sure where he will play in the future. He looks like another project of LvG to change from a winger/number 10 to a center midfielder or a holding midfielder much like that of what he did with Bastian Schweinstiger.

Luke Shaw is the left back of the future for United. He will be the left back for years to come. Amazing pace, great skill, and smart defensively he is the definition of a modern fullback. He combines amazingly with Memphis on the left flank, and the two of them look like their friendship off the field helps on the field.

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