On Tuesday, a quartet of Manchester United academy standouts joined first-team training as the club prepared for a tense Premier League clash with Chelsea.
Manchester United’s first-team coach Ralf Rangnick included four academy prospects in their training session on Tuesday ahead of their crucial Premier League match against Chelsea.
The Red Devils, who host the Blues at Old Trafford on Thursday night, are desperate for a win after three defeats in their last four games. The most recent of these defeats came against Arsenal on Saturday, thereby ending United’s chances of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
Nonetheless, there are four games left for players to stake their claim for a spot in the upcoming rebuild under new manager Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman has a strong track record of developing young players at Ajax, so United’s youngsters will be eager to impress when given the opportunity.
Rangnick invited four academy standouts, Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez, Shola Shoretire, and Will Fish, to join the senior squad for midweek training. The quartet was photographed in action at United’s Carrington camp, attempting to persuade Rangnick that they are worthy of an opportunity against Chelsea.
Shola Shoretire, 18, is the most well-known of the kids participating, having made four senior appearances for the Red Devils. Midfielder Mejbri, 19, has lately seen his status climb after coming off the bench for a late cameo in last week’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool for his second first-team appearance.
Left-back Fernandez, 19, is yet to make his senior debut, while center-back Will Fish, 19, made one appearance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season and was returned from a loan at Stockport County in January.
Interim boss Rangnick’s inclusion of the four prospects in training comes at a time when United is devoid of options in a number of areas, particularly midfield. Paul Pogba will not play against Chelsea and faces a race to be fit again this season after suffering a calf injury, while Fred is a doubt due to a hip flexor problem.
Luke Shaw is also out due to a minor knee operation, and Edinson Cavani’s calf injury means he won’t be back until May. United enter their match against the Blues six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, despite having played one more game than the North Londoners.
Meanwhile, Chelsea appears to have clinched their place in the top four, since they sit five points clear of Arsenal with a game in hand. The Blues beat West Ham on Sunday thanks to a Christian Pulisic winner moments after Jorginho fumbled a penalty.