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Kobbie has hit the ground running at lightspeed.

Where are they now? The 5 Man Utd teenagers handed Premier League debuts by Erik ten Hag

Say what you like about Erik ten Hag at Manchester United but, for better or for worse, he ain’t afraid to play the kids.

During his time as Ajax boss, Ten Hag relied upon young talents like Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, and Donny van de Beek to dominate the Eredivisie and take the team to the Champions League semis.

He’s continued that trend at Old Trafford pretty successfully despite United’s inconsistency in the Premier League.

We’ve investigated every teenager Ten Hag has handed a Premier League debut to and how they’ve fared since.

Kobbie Mainoo

After making his first Premier League appearance against Leicester in February 2023, Mainoo has been the breakout story of United’s season.

The midfielder has gone from almost total obscurity to an England international, and in a position usually dominated by more experienced players.

Mainoo looks certain to go to the Euros after a breakthrough season with United during which he managed to bring a calmness to the Red Devil’s play that was severely lacking from players far more experienced than himself.

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Willy Kambwala

Kambwala made his league debut in the defeat at West Ham just before Christmas 2023 and has been a semi-regular for the first team since then, with nine appearances in all comps.

Ten Hag is a big fan of the Congo-born Frenchman.

“He’s calm. He made a good impression in training. But of course he’s inexperienced and it’s a big moment for him. He’s athletic, so calm on the ball, and now he has his opportunity.”

He also impressed Sporting Director of Le Havre Mathieu Bodmer.

“What I like about him is that he defends by moving forward. For me, that’s a great quality when you play central defender. He’ll burst forward, look for the ball in his feet, break a line with a pass or a strong run.”

Kambwala has looked totally natural in United’s backline since making his debut, and we reckon he’s destined for great things.

Daniel Gore

Central midfielder Gore made his debut in the 90th minute of United’s Boxing Day 3-2 home victory over Aston Villa. It would prove to be his only league appearance for the Red Devils before heading out on loan to Port Vale for the rest of the season.

Gore also appeared in a League Cup match, playing half an hour in a 3-2 League Cup victory over Crystal Palace. That’s a 100% win record for the teenager in Man United colours. Maybe he’s a lucky charm…


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Omari Forson

The winger from West London made an assist on his Premier League debut f0r the Red Devils against Wolves in February 2024, turning heads across the country, not least in this office.

The 19-year-old can play centrally as a 10 as well as out wide, and has featured in both the league and the cup since his United bow.

Forson will be looking to gain more experience next season to fulfil his huge potential.

Omari Forson in action for Manchester United.

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Ethan Wheatley

Wheatley has been in superb form for Manchester United’s under-18s, managing a goal involvement every 42 minutes. The striker from Stockport was amongst the goals when United’s under-18s smashed Liverpool 9-1 not so long ago.

Ten Hag handed Wheatley his debut in a 4-2 Premier League win over Sheffield United at the back end of April — a 90th-minute sub for Rasmus Hojlund. We predict seeing much more of the 18-year-old next season, whether at Man United or out on loan.