Man Utd’s 17 wonderkids on FM2021: Mengi, Garner, Mejbri, Greenwood…

Quick Reads

While Manchester United haven’t had much success in recent years, they currently have a really exciting crop of young players. 

According to‘s list of Football Manager 2021’s 725 Wonderkids, 17 are currently on the Red Devils’ books. That’s defined as “players with high potential ability who are not older than 20 years old on July 1, 2020”.

We’ve taken a closer look at those players in real life. United fans will be hoping they can develop and continue the club’s proud tradition of academy graduates.

Matej Kovar

Kovar joined United’s academy in 2018 and was an unused substitute for their Europa League tie in Astana last season.

The goalkeeper joined League One side Swindon Town on loan ahead of the 2020-21 season and has started 16 games in all competitions at the time of writing,

Teden Mengi

After starring for United’s Under-23 and Under-18 teams, Mengi made his first-team debut against LASK in August and was officially promoted to the senior squad ahead of 2020-21.

“He’s a leader, a [proper] centre-back,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Solskjaer told BT Sport. “He’s one we believe in. He’s in the same age group as Mason [Greenwood].

“They grew up together. He’s strong, quick, good on the ball. We’ve got a decent player there.”

READ: ‘One we believe in’ – Seven quotes on Man Utd’s latest debutant Teden Mengi

Willy Kambwala

United signed Kambwala from Ligue 2 side Sochaux in a deal worth in the region of £3.5million on transfer deadline day in 2020.

The 16-year-old defender joins United’s academy with a stellar reputation, having represented his former club up to Under-19s level and captained France’s Under-17s.

Alvaro Fernandez

Fernandez spent three years in Real Madrid’s academy but joined United on a free transfer in 2020 after failing to agree a new contract with the Spanish side.

The left-back scored on his debut for United’s Under-18s and has one goal in his first seven appearances for their Under-23s in Premier League 2.

Brandon Williams

Williams enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season in 2019-20, making 35 appearances in all competitions before signing a new long-term contract at Old Trafford.

The left-back has fallen down the pecking order following Alex Telles’ arrival, however, and has been linked with a loan move to Southampton.

Marc Jurado

A La Masia academy graduate, Jurado turned down the offer of a contract extension from Barcelona in favour of a switch to Old Trafford in 2020.

The 16-year-old has initially joined Neil Ryan’s Under-18s side.

READ: What you need to know about Marc Jurado, the Barca kid set for Man Utd

Ethan Laird

A United player since the age of nine, Laird made two first-team appearances for United in 2019-20 and was promoted to the senior squad.

The right-back has been hampered by injury problems this season and has been linked with a loan move away from Old Trafford.

James Garner

Garner made his senior debut for United at just 17 years of age and is very highly regarded by club staff at Old Trafford.

“I believe he’s got the chance to have a great future,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in 2019. “He knows we believe in him, we’ve got great faith in him as the next Michael Carrick.

“I know he’s young and I know it’s not fair on kids to compare to great players like Michael was, but he’s the same mould. He plays simple passes, plays through the lines.”

The midfielder joined Watford in search of regular first-team football and has made a promising start to his loan spell at Vicarage Road, starting 10 Championship games

READ: ‘A breath of fresh air’: James Garner has Watford fans raving after crucial assist

Ethan Galbraith

The midfielder has been one of the standout performers for United’s Under-23s and made his senior debut for United and Northern Ireland last season.

“Ethan, over the last six months, we’ve seen a maturity in his play and the way he goes about his work day to day,” Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough said in November 2020.

“Not to put too much pressure on his shoulders, but he’s our little Iniesta or Xavi, someone who can get on the ball and manipulate the ball and find positive passes. Over the coming years, he will give us a different flavour to the squad.”

Hannibal Mejbri

Regarded as one of France’s brightest prospects, Mejbri joined United from Monaco in a potential £8.4million deal in 2019.

The 17-year-old has already made the step up to United’s Under-23s, registering three goals and five assists in his first 13 appearances in 2020-21.

READ: ‘He takes the p*ss’ – Everything you need to know about Hannibal Mejbri

Shola Shoretire

Shoretire first hit the headlines in 2018 when he became the youngest ever player to appear in the UEFA Youth League, coming off the bench against Valencia as a 14-year-old.

The winger is tipped for a bright future at Old Trafford and has scored two Premier League 2 goals since being promoted to the Under-23s.

Anthony Elanga

After scoring seven goals in just nine games for United’s Under-18s last season, Elanga won the prestigious Jimmy Murphy Youth Team Player of the Year award.

The 18-year-old has carried that form into their Under-23s, registering six goals and three assists in his first 14 appearances in 2020-21.

Facundo Pellistri

Having been recommended to the club by Diego Forlan, Pellistri joined United from Penarol in a £9million deal on deadline day in 2020.

The 18-year-old has been playing for the Under-23s as he continues his integration with the club, scoring three goals in his first seven appearances.

Tahith Chong

The Feyenoord academy graduate made 12 appearances for United last season but decided to join Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on loan ahead of 2020-21.

Despite scoring on his debut in the German Cup, Chong has started just three league games so far this season and conceded a penalty against Stuttgart.

READ: The 12 Man Utd players hoping to catch Solskjaer’s eye on loan in 2020-21

Charlie McNeill

After leaving United for Manchester City in 2014, McNeil became renowned for his goalscoring exploits and is credited with 600 goals at youth level

The Red Devils fought off competition from Juventus and RB Leipzig to bring the highly-rated striker back to Old Trafford for an initial fee of £750,000 in 2020.

He scored a brace on his Under-18s debut for United and has been described as “ridiculously good” in training sessions, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Isak Hansen-Aaroen

Having made his professional debut for Trosmo at the age of 15, Hansen-Aaroen is clearly someone to keep an eye on.

The midfielder had trials at Liverpool and Everton but agreed to join United on his 16th birthday in 2020 and has already made his Under-23s debut.

Mason Greenwood

You may have heard of this one.

Regarded as the most exciting talent to break through at United in decades, Greenwood is the youngest player to score 20 goals for the club since Norman Whiteside in 1985.

“He is one of the best, if not the best finisher I have worked with and seen,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BBC Sport in July 2020. “He is so calm. He knows where to finish if it is on the training ground, here or in his garden at home.”

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