August 15, 2017
In a youth system that simply just keeps on giving, Manchester United down the years have always boasted in possessing the country’s most prized Academy assets. The philosophy of playing the youth is embedded in the club’s DNA, as through iconic eras such as, ‘The Busby Babes’ and ‘The Class of 92’, United have always been repaid from their academy stars once they have been provided with the opportunity.
There always seems to be something special brewing amongst the academy’s training complex, with the younger players all desperate to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and George Best etc., all players who started off where they are today. Arguably, one of the most promising players in this position at the club today is Demetri Mitchell, the twenty-year-old left-back.
The name of Mitchell is certainly already a recognisable name with fans, as the Englishman impressed during United’s final Premier League game of last season, against Crystal Palace. In fact, the young defender had impressed so much that he was warranted a place in the Red’s Summer pre-season squad, a tour in which he found an unforgettable and valuable experience. Speaking in a recent interview with MUTV he stated;
“Tour was really good, I learned a lot and it was a really good experience to be with the first-team. And now coming back [into the Reserves], I have to show leadership, because coming back into this team I’m one of the older ones rather than one of the younger ones. It’s a physical step up from the Under-18s, so it’s really important to help the younger lads along the way, and it’s important that they learn quickly.”
The following comments come after Mitchell’s match winning free-kick, following United’s first reserve Premier League game of the season, in which they beat Leicester 1-0. It is evident that Mitchell is making strides throughout the ranks of all the United sides and he certainly possesses the professional attitude required, to become a success at the club. The senior position of the left-back spot is certainly one up for grabs in present time, as following Luke Shaw’s prolonged absence, United are certainly depleted in depth of natural left-backs and perhaps Mitchell will be given a chance to prove himself further, in the Premier League.
As we have seen with Jose Mourinho as manager of Manchester United so far, he certainly is open to welcoming academy players into the senior picture, but at a more gradual pace. With the exception to Marcus Rashford, we have seen the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah both being delicately managed by Mourinho in order of easing them into the team, thus not creating huge pressure on them to perform straight away.
This sort of procedure in slowly promoting the Academy players is something that we may come to consistently expect from Mourinho at United and potentially with Mitchell himself. Whilst he may not be thrown into action in the League straight away, perhaps fans can expect to see more of him in the domestic cups, where he will have an opportunity to show his worth. Regardless of when this will be, Mitchell’s progression and development certainly looks to be going smoothly and could be the next Academy star at Manchester United, to make a name for himself.