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He's already attracting interest from elsewhere...

Manchester United’s latest young prodigy is a master of flair by name & nature

It’s one thing being a young footballer with bags of talent and a desire to apply yourself, but there are some things which you simply cannot control no matter how hard you try.

Got two brilliant feet? A great start. Do you run yourself into the ground every weekend for the sake of the team? Excellent, the coaches will love you. But none of that matters if there’s no style with the substance.

Manchester United have found themselves falling on either side of that tightrope for the last decade. Ebbing and flowing between trying to be too stylish and trying to be too much like the plucky underdogs, their very public identity crisis is more than well-documented at this point.

No matter how many brilliant interviews, millions of pounds and endless petrochemicals Sir Jim Ratcliffe pumps into the club, you sometimes simply cannot deter fate.

Fortunately for Ratcliffe and United, fate is on their side. Fate has delivered a young baller for the ages – and he’s got quite possibly the coolest f*cking name football will ever hear.

Are you ready? Like, are you seated and really ready? Forget every regen you’ve ever nurtured on FIFA and Football Manager – because Bendito Mantato has arrived, he’s ready to revive Manchester United and when he’s done there, he might just save the planet.

Bendito Mantato. Seriously. How effortlessly cool does that sound? We don’t even need to tell you about how promising the lad is – not just because he’s training with United’s first-team at 16 – but because he already sounds like a bonafide world beater.

Born in 2008 – five days before Cristiano Ronaldo scored *that* free-kick against Portsmouth – Mantato not only sounds like a mashup between a footballing world beater and a fan-favourite wrestling luchador from the 1990s, but is a serious talented teenager with clubs queuing for his services.

A versatile player with impressive size for his age and a strong technical base, Mantato recently made his debut for England under-16 and is capable of playing on both the right wing and at left-back; United’s struggles in both positions could be indicative of why he’s been called into training.

While not the first to make first-team training at such a young age, Mantato has made a habit of breaking down barriers at United, debuting with the under-18s when he was just 14 years old.

The young Red Devils have been electric this season and Mantato has played his part, most recently with his performance against Crystal Palace as United’s U18s made light work of the Eagles in a 5-0 thrashing.

READ: Man Utd’s Under-18s are the recipe for redemption under Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Let’s take a minute to appreciate the blindingly fast footwork. It’s no wonder clubs around the Premier League are desperate to prize him away before he inks professional terms at United with such sharp feet in possession and the balance to match.

He turns 17 next January and the Manchester Evening News report that he’s already attracted interest from some of United’s biggest rivals who are keen to pip the Red Devils to his signature when he becomes old enough to sign professional terms.

Mantato has the skill to match the name, which has absolutely made our week. His career is yet to even get properly underway and we’re not in the business of unnecessarily piling pressure onto youngsters for no reason, but we’d be devastated if he wasn’t making headlines the future – and surprised.

With the name and the flair, he’s the blueprint of a star boy destined to save football for good.

A left-footer with a crisp pass as well as fast feet, the next step for the 16-year-old is soaking up as much as he can from the exposure to Erik ten Hag’s first team and ensuring that his levels match his name – because he’s not going to be forgotten anytime soon.

By Mitch Wilks


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