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Manchester United announce list of first year scholars

by Colm Murphy

Manchester United have announced this year’s intake of first year scholars with 11 young players on the initial list.

With the club employing a new philosophy of being more proactive with promoting players beyond their age group, many of the new scholars already have experience at the u18s level and will be familiar to followers of the academy.

But for those who haven’t seen them, we will give a breakdown on each player’s style as they step up to the u18s full time.

Jayce Fitzgerald

Already one of the best players for the u18s last season, Fitzgerald added a calm composure at the base of the midfield since his promotion at the turn of the year.

Operating in a number six role, Fitzgerald likes to dictate the match from deep while also adding high energy and steel. Having already made 16 appearances for the u18s, he is firmly established at the heart of midfield.

The 16 year old has also captained England’s u16s and has experience playing at centre back.

Shea Lacey

Almost a household name among United fans already, Lacey has been catching the eye with his skilful highlight videos that have been shared on social media.

Typically operating on the right wing, Lacey is also comfortable in a more central attacking midfield role. Despite his slight stature, the England u16 international has already taken well to u18s football with three goals and two assists last season in 12 league appearances including an audacious must-see goal against Wolves.

Lacey’s tight dribbling and innovation in attack has already seen him drawing comparisons with cross-town rival Phil Foden.

Zach Baumann

Baumann is another central midfielder but has only played 80 minutes of u18s football so far. Mainly playing with the u16s last season, Baumann did participate in the u19s indoor Rewe Junior Cup.

Gabriele Biancheri

Signed from Cardiff City in February, Biancheri is a forward who is comfortable across the front line or dropping into a number 10 position.

After his arrival Biancheri made an instant impact with the u18s, scoring on his debut against Leeds, but only featured two more times before heading off to the u17s Euros with Wales, where he scored a fantastic header.

Jacob Devaney

Having only returned from a long term injury in February, Devaney has yet to see much u18s football. A tough tackling defensive midfielder, the 16 year old can also drop back to fullback. But it isn’t only the defensive side of the game Devaney excels at, with an accurate cross field ping a common weapon in his arsenal.

Sekou Kaba
Joining from Derby County two years ago, Kaba is a centre forward and provided an assist against his former club last season.

Jaydan Kamason

Another who has been capped for England at u16s level, Kamason had earned the u18s right back spot by the end of last season.

A well rounded full back, Kamason has the physical attributes to get up and down the flank to offer defensive cover and attacking output including a thunderbolt volley goal against Everton last season.

Reece Munro

Still yet to turn 16, Munro is a tall centre back who is composed on the ball and has already made seven appearances for the u18s.

Will Murdock

Murdock is a keeper who has been capped at u16s level for Northern Ireland. His father is Colin Murdock, a former United academy graduate who had a long professional career before transitioning to the agent side where he represents a number of United academy players and Scott McTominay.

Victor Musa

A rangy centre forward, Musa scored six goals for the u18s last season in 19 league appearances. Also capable of playing on the left wing, Musa is most dangerous when attacking the back post. Let down by his finishing at times, the youngster’s sheer ability to get into scoring opportunities is highly impressive.

Born in Spain, he has featured for both England and Spain’s u16s and is also eligible for Nigeria.
James Scanlon

Another who was signed from Derby County two years ago, Scanlon is a Gibraltar u17s international who primarily plays in the number 10 role but can also operate from the wings. Quick on the turn, Scanlon likes to drive with the ball and offers a direct threat in attack, picking up three goals for the u18s last season.

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