Manchester United failed to sign attacking reinforcements in January, with the club only seeing outgoings occur.
Last night, Erik ten Hag’s team were dragged over the line by 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo in a 4-3 victory over Wolves.
The youth is yet to let the boss down, and he could turn to the academy once again to strengthen the side.
Marcus Rashford’s season so far
Marcus Rashford has been far from his best this campaign, with the forward only netting five goals in 21 Premier League games this season. In fairness to the United number ten, his form as of late has significantly improved, but his recent external shenanigans have tainted his development, with the focus being swayed away from the field.
Furthermore, there has also been the recent news that PSG are interested in signing Rashford as their Kylian Mbappe replacement in the summer, and although Ten Hag has rubbished such claims, the England international looks far from settled at his boyhood club.
Ethan Williams could be the future
This season, Ten Hag’s hand has been forced into relying upon the youngsters to step up, and in all honesty, the likes of Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho have become undroppable from the United starting XI, which is a credit to them and the boss for providing them with an opportunity.
Willy Kambwala, Omari Forson, and Daniel Gore are other examples of young players being given minutes in the first team this season, and the next star to follow suit could be 18-year-old Ethan Williams.
The winger has become a key player for United’s youth teams, which earned him the right to train with the first team earlier this campaign. The table below shows some of his stats from this season.
Williams‘ 2023/24 Stats
Premier League 2
U18 Premier League
UEFA Youth League
FA Youth Cup
Stats via Transfermarkt
As you can see, the forward is the definition of a modern-day winger, who can not only provide for those around him but also put the ball in the back of the net himself, which is why United Academy coach Travis Binnion described the English ace as a huge „goal threat.“
The Mancunian is a left-sided winger who has the ability to use both feet with ease, which makes him unpredictable out wide and deadly in the box. Garnacho is also a left-winger by trade, but he has started four of the last six on the right after scoring twice in that role versus Aston Villa on Boxing Day. Therefore, if Williams were to progress into the first team picture, the right-wing spot could become the Argentine’s new full-time position.
Like any young talent, Williams still has lots to learn and develop, but based on his output and academy showings, it shouldn’t be too long until he’s in the matchday squad and even featuring in the side if Rashford does decide to swap Manchester for Paris.