Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that a number of emerging youngsters will get a chance to play in pre-season friendlies this summer, before some seal loan moves in August – as Tahith Chong has already done by joining Birmingham.
United started pre-season training on 5 July, but the majority of the first-team squad are on delayed summer breaks as a result of international duty at Euro 2020 and Copa America.
It means that a skeletal squad is bolstered by younger homegrown players, who will be given an opportunity to impress Solskjaer and the coaching staff in training sessions, as well as friendlies against Derby, QPR, Brentford and Preston scheduled before the end of July.
“The young kids will definitely be part of the Derby game [Sunday 18 July] and then we’ve got another couple of games coming up and they can be part of it,” Solskjaer told ManUtd.com.
“Gradually, more and more players from the Euros will join in,” the boss added.
“[The youngsters] will get a taste of some football. Then, roundabouts early August, some will go on loan. We’ve already lined up a few and some of them are still in discussions between us and the players about where is the best place to go.”
Mason Greenwood, Nemanja Matic, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and new signing Tom Heaton were the only established first-teamers present on day one, with Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andreas Pereira joining a few days later. Jesse Lingard also returns this week.
Facundo Pellistri, Teden Mengi and James Garner, who spent last season on loan, were part of the junior group involved, as were Ethan Galbraith, Joe Hugill and Dylan Levitt. Teenagers Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire made first-team breakthroughs last season and were also present.
United fans will be keen to see more of Garner, who made his first-team debut aged 17 in 2019 and played 40 Championship games for Watford and Nottingham Forest last season. Solskjaer has previously likened the midfielder to Michael Carrick.
Pellistri joined United last October from Penarol in Uruguay and made a splash at Under-23 level. However, he tested positive for coronavirus just as he appeared to be in with a chance of making his first-team debut in January and soon headed to Spain on loan.
Elanga and Shoretire in particular are perhaps the brightest hopes among this crop of youngsters. The former played twice and scored at the end of the Premier League season in May, while the latter made his debut less than three weeks after turning 17 in February.
Hugill is also only 17 and grabbed headlines when he scored four times for the Under-23s in a 6-3 win over Liverpool in which Amad Diallo played his first game for United at any level.