Daniel Gore’s Xavi-esque through balls will have Erik ten Hag drooling

An Erik ten Hag team is built around a functional midfield and the Dutch manager will surely have an eye on the progress of Daniel Gore in the Manchester United academy right now.

The Red Devils pride themselves on the success of their academy and in some instances it’s their faith in youngsters which often sets them apart from other top six sides.

Ten Hag is certainly no stranger to giving youngsters a chance as he has handed first-team debuts to the likes of Kobbie Mainoo and Facundo Pellistri this season.

With the way Gore has been going about his business this year, he could be the next in line for a first-team call-up. Having joined the club from Burnley in 2018, the 18-year-old has gone from strength to strength in this campaign.

His latest sprinkling of stardust came in the Premier League 2 against Tottenham’s Under-21s. With United trailing 2-1 in the game, Gore took things into his own hands to get his side level.

Picking up the ball with space to roam into, he dances around his midfield counterpart with ease. Instinctively, Joe Hugill times his run to perfection and knows that only Gore is capable of pulling off such a defence-splitting pass.

Like David Villa latching onto a Xavi through ball, Gore’s laser-like vision is a sight to behold. Taking out three defenders with one simple pass, it’s one of the cleanest assists we have seen this season.

Across various youth groups this season, Gore has featured in 25 matches and has scored two goals and provided three assists. However, his skill set cannot be simply reduced to goal contributions.

The dynamic midfielder often influences the game with cleverly thought-out passes and eye-catching dribbles. His low centre of gravity certainly helps in these situations.

Gore has been receiving plenty of plaudits this season after a series of influential performances. United’s Under-21s coach Mark Dempsey recently singled the 18-year-old out for praise.

“I think he’s a proper footballer, good with the ball, good without the ball, and he can travel with it. His final pass has to improve for me, that’s the last bit for him, but the rest is great,” Dempsey told the Manchester Evening News.

“I like to see him play football because he’s one of them to get fans off their seats. He smashes into people, technically he’s fantastic and he’s been terrific all season. He’s been captain a number of times and personality-wise, he’s a quiet boy, but he’s a leader.

“He leads by example. He’s a local lad, he loves the football club and you see that in the way he plays. Whether he’s playing at Old Trafford, a three-a-side at Carrington or at The Cliff, it’s the same performance from the kid and we’ve all got a lot of time for Daniel.”

Ten Hag has coached some fine midfielders over the years and he knows exactly what it takes to make it at the top. With the way Gore is progressing right now, a first-team chance is surely only around the corner.

By Ben Stewart

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