Young guns who could be thrown in at the deep end for United against PSG..

Let’s take a look at United’s academy players who are flying to Paris for Manchester United decisive second leg against PSG

Solskjaer has good options to call upon for the PSG tie..

Manchester United go into the second leg of the UEFA Champions League
pre-quarter finals trailing Paris St. Germain 2–0 from the first leg at Old Trafford and to make matters worse United, they are without ten members of their first team squad — Martial, Mata, Matic, Herrera, Lingard, Darmian, Jones, Valencia and Alexis Sanchez are all injured while Paul Pogba is suspended following his red card from the first leg.

Injury plagued United means youngsters with little to no experience could be lining up against the likes of Mbappe, Verratti and Di Maria. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has named 6 teenagers from the United academy as part of the squad that travelled to Paris. Kieran Mckenna, who coached the United U18s before taking over first team coach duties, and Michael Carrick have been regular faces at youth team games and have been instrumental in helping bridge the gap between the first team squad and the academy players. Let’s take a look at the new faces in the squad.

Along with the teenagers, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford complete the academy graduates in the squad.

James Garner

Likened to Michael Carrick by Solskjaer, James Garner has got the United fans excited. Garner has come through the ranks at the club and made his debut for the Red Devils as he came on for Fred against Crystal Palace last week. The Manchester United bench was visibly delighted for the teenager as Solskjaer, Phelan, Carrick and Mckenna prepped Garner as he waited on the touchline to come on for his debut.

Playing style: James Garner has good vision and a sharp awareness of space. He is very composed on the ball and has also played centre back but primarily operates as a deep-lying midfielder who sits in front of the defence. Garner is also the captain of the England youth team.

Juan Mata also praised the youngster in his blog, “James, on top of being a great lad, is a great central midfielder who can pick his passes well and control the tempo of games — hopefully he has a huge career ahead of him.”

PSG Game: With McTominay, Pereira and Fred favourites to start against PSG, Garner is the only option for a substitution at the heart of the midfield and is the one most likely to make an appearance on Wednesday. Should that happen, Garner will be handed the responsibility of shielding the defence against the likes of Mbappe, Di Maria, Draxler and Dani Alves.

Angel Gomes

The diminutive playmaker made his debut for Manchester United as he came on for Wayne Rooney two years ago as a sixteen year old.

Angel Gomes joined United as a 6-year old and made rapid progress through the ranks at United and has been knocking on the first team door for two years now. A combination of poor results under Mourinho and heavy competition in the side has limited his chances in the side.

Angel Gomes captained the U-16 and U-17 England sides. Angel Gomes’ idol Nani is also his godfather.

Playing style: Angel Gomes can play in many positions and is very creative and is likely to grow into a #10 capable of linking midfield and attack. Angel Gomes also likes to drop deep and build play from midfield. He is a good dribbler and likes to take on players in one-on-one situations.

PSG game: Angel Gomes’ is unlikely to start and any substitute appearance will depend on the balance of the tie heading into the last 10–15 minutes of the game. If United have a shot, Angel Gomes could replace Andreas Pereira and operate between the spaces to add a little creative spark in attack.

Tahith Chong

The pacy Dutch winger signed for United from Feyenoord in 2016. He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in 2016/17 but he made a strong return the following year to win the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year in 2018. Called Chongy affectionately by teammates and coaching staff, Tahith has been told by Solskjaer to take his chances and has been training with the first team for a while now. Chong made his Premier League debut for United in the club’s 3–2 comeback win over Southampton on Saturday.

Style of play: Chong is a left footed right winger with pace to burn. Despite his thin wire frame, the Dutchman skips challenges with relative ease and is not easy to shake off the ball. He likes to hug the touchline but can also cut in to affect the half spaces at the edge of the box. He has also operated as a #10 at youth levels but primarily plays as a right sided winger. He also has a few tricks up his sleeve.

PSG Game: United are likely to play 3 at the back with wing backs Shaw and Young pushing forward which is likely to limit Chong’s chances of an appearance as a winger. Dalot is likely to start on the right wing as he can offer an attacking threat while also providing cover for Young against Di Maria, as Solskjaer did against Crystal Palace to contain Zaha. Chong’s pace could come in handy against Bernat in the dying minutes but it will still need a rejig of the formation for the Dutchman to get any gametime.

Mason Greenwood

Greenwood has been on fire this season and has scored 13 goals in 12 U18 Premier League with 4 assists to boot and an overall tally of 22 goals spread across three age groups. He has also stamped his mark on the UEFA youth league and the U23s side. He also scored a hat-trick to knock Chelsea out of the FA Youth Cup, a competition the blues had won for five consecutive years.

Playing style: Mason Greenwood is very good with both feet and even takes freekicks with his wrong foot. His playing style has been compared to that of Robin Van Persie. Pacy number 9 who can also drive from midfield on his own as he has shown countless times against top sides at the youth level.

PSG Game: Greenwood is the only back up striker and with Rashford and Lukaku set to start against PSG, Greenwood is likely to get minutes as the game wears on. Mason Greenwood brings on a different set of skills when compared to Lukaku and could be an option in the dying minutes. Lest we forget, it was Solskjaer, the then youth team coach, who pushed Sir Alex Ferguson to include Federico Macheda in the matchday squad against Aston Villa in 2008/09 season where he scored a injury time winner.

Brandon Williams

A surprising inclusion in the squad, Brandon Williams is a no nonsense full back capable of playing on either flank but has predominantly played on the left for United U18s and U23s this season. Williams is also the captain of the U18 side. The Englishman was rewarded with his first professional contract by the club in April, 2018.

Ole Solskjaer though has high hopes for the fullback, “Brandon is a quick full-back who can play both sides. It’s the first time he’s travelled with us and he didn’t expect to come. But that’s why you’re in the Academy — we believe in you and suddenly you can step up.”

Brandon Williams is making his first trip with the United team and is unlikely to make the matchday squad but it could give him a taste of life as a Manchester United first team player and that prove to be an invaluable experience for the teenager.

If the United teenagers need any inspiration, they need to look no further than Marcus Rashford who was forced to start against FC Midtjylland following injuries to Rooney, Martial, Will Keane and James Wilson. Rashford would score a double to help United overturn a 2–1 deficit in from the first leg to progress in the Europa League and hasn’t looked back since.