Manchester United: 'Next Rashford' identified; star missing from squad; deal for Bayern starlet was close
Despite criticism of Jose Mourinho’s policy towards youth players, with the likes of Marcus Rashford struggling for game time in the opening fixtures of the season, the next big thing to come through the United academy has already been identified.
18-year-old Indy Boonen with the playmaker labelled the next Ryan Giggs by academy bosses as he increasingly nears the fringes of the first team setup at Old Trafford.
Signed from Genk in 2015 aged 16, Boonen has now proven to be an excellent prospect at various levels of youth football at the club and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford, who broke into the first team last season, culminating in a call up to England’s Euro 2016 squad. Boonen says that he has tracked his former teammate’s progress and hopes to follow suit in the near future.
It has also emerged that another 18-year-old could have been a key figure at Old Trafford this season, as the Red Devils were offered the opportunity to seal a deal for Portugal star Renato Sanches a week before Bayern Munich snapped him up from Benfica.
The Manchester Evening News report that Louis Van Gaal did not want to sign the starlet despite his undoubted potential, and club bosses refused to undermine the Dutch manager as they continually delayed his sacking.
Sanches went on to complete a deal worth around £30 million as he moved to Germany and has become one of the most valuable youngsters in Europe after displaying experience beyond his years and becoming a key man for his country as they fought to victory in France in Euro 2016. The central midfielder would have been a superb addition to the squad and he looks set to continue his improvement, having made two appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich as they start their Bundesliga defence.
Having scored six times in 47 games in Portugal last term, also figuring in the Champions League, Sanches can also play out wide on the left and would have added depth to the wide positions in the United squad.
There was also something of a surprise for Red Devils fans as captain Wayne Rooney was left out of the squad for tonight’s Europa League opener in Holland against Feyenoord, who currently sit top of the Eredivise with 15 goals scored and just two conceded from their opening five games of the season.
The England captain has come in for criticism for his performances since the start of the season as he struggles to find a role in Jose Mourinho’s line-up, usually playing somewhere between Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack and Paul Pogba in midfield, though to date he has been largely ineffectual.
Whilst his exclusion is likely to be rotation to give the 30-year-old a rest after a busy summer on international duty, a good performance by some of the squad players expected to play tonight may well put his place in the starting eleven under threat ahead of a trip to Watford on Sunday lunchtime.
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