Robbie Savage’s son Charlie has been one of eight Manchester United youngsters who have joined the first team in training ahead of their trip to Leicester this weekend.
With much of United’s first team away over the international break, the club’s academy prospects have been given a chance to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and force their way into his plans.
The youngsters have helped bolster the numbers in senior sessions and at the very least offers them an opportunity to train alongside the United stars not involved for their countries.
Charlie Savage was among those included in Monday’s session, as was teenage full-back Marc Jurado, who signed from Barcelona last year and has captained United’s U18s this season.
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Academy strikers Charlie McNeill and Joe Hugill were both involved as well, and will no doubt have benefitted from training with role model and academy graduate Mason Greenwood.
There were also appearances for Dillon Hoogewerf, Alvaro Fernandez, Bjorn Hardley and Charlie Wellens.
United’s U21s are next in action in the Papa John’s Trophy on Wednesday night when they head north to face Sunderland.
United’s academy is famed for producing world-class talent, from the fabled Class of ‘92, to more recent products like Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.
The international break has been a welcome pause for United, who have experienced indifferent form so far this season.
Despite a relatively easy run of fixtures, Solskjaer’s team have looked unconvincing and have already dropped seven points from their opening seven games.
United have much tougher tests to come over the next few weeks, facing Leicester City on their return to league action, before fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham and rivals Manchester City, as well as back-to-back Champions League ties against Atalanta.
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The fixtures will be a real indication of how far Solskjaer’s side have progressed and could significantly influence their season going forward if they can keep within touching distance of the top teams when they emerge the other side.
Without a win in their last two league games, Solskjaer’s team have come under criticism for their performances despite having one of the most talented squads in the league.
In their last outing, United had a disappointing 1-1 draw with Everton and looked vulnerable defensively as they were easily split open by Rafa Benitez’s side at Old Trafford.
United conceded once again on the counter-attack when Andros Townsend finished a good move emphatically, with the Toffees also having a late goal chalked off for offside.
Solskjaer himself identified defensive transitions as a weak point where his team lacked structure.
“When we conceded that counter-attack, we were in control, dominated the game, we conceded from a corner that we had, and there were still four players behind the ball and we should’ve dealt with it,” he said. “That was the same case against Villarreal.”
Whilst in previous seasons United have been content securing top four, given an impressive summer transfer window they can no longer sit back and not challenge for the title.
They currently sit fourth, only two points behind league leaders Chelsea, but with only four points separating them and 11th place Arsenal, putting pressure on them to find their feet quickly starting against Leicester.