Unfortunately, Anthony Martial enters pre-season as Manchester United’s primary striker option, as the Red Devils have yet to sign a new center forward.
United’s roster options are limited at this early point due to international stars missing the start of the pre-season. While returning players will soon fill the ranks upon their arrival, no strikers are expected to return.
This leaves Erik Ten Hag with a few choices for Wednesday’s friendly against Leeds, including 19-year-old attacker Joe Hugill.
Joe Hugill has a chance.
Joe Hugill was photographed at Carrington on Monday (above right with Dan Gore) as Manchester United trained.
With Anthony Martial unlikely to play more than 45 minutes against Leeds (in fact, most players will only play 45 minutes), Hugill is expected to see game time in the following friendly.
The former Sunderland trainee appeared briefly in pre-season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and again in a winter-friendly last December under Erik ten Hag.
This time, he arrives fresh from a loan spell at Altrincham, where he played competitive senior football for the first time last season, scoring on debut.
Another loan stint, possibly in the Football League, awaits the adolescent unless he can persuade Erik Ten Hag that he deserves to stay and contend for a spot in the first team.
Hugill will be able to stake a claim in these early pre-season games before Manchester United adds a striker or two to the group.
He has an excellent goal-scoring record at the academy level and would benefit little from another season with the under-21s.
Joe Hugill holds the academy goal-scoring record.
Joe Hugill has scored 46 goals in 80 games for Manchester United’s youth teams.
These include 24 goals in 41 PL2 under-21 matches, with a goal every 122 minutes on average.
He had scored 19 goals in 25 under-18 league games, averaging one per 100 minutes.
Hugill has also scored goals in UEFA Youth League, FA Youth Cup, and EFL Trophy matches.