Manchester United's top 20 youth prospects: #11-15

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We run the rule over the best talents in Manchester United's youth ranks at present. Any player under 21 who had not yet broken into the first team was eligible for inclusion. Here we present numbers eleven to fifteen.

In order to help run the rule over United's younger players, we enlisted the help of Doron Salomon, a regular youth-game watcher, to pass on some comments about the next generation of United talent. You can also find more of Doron's work on Stretford End.

If you missed the first instalment of this series, you can find the full list of our top Manchester United youngsters here.


15. Marnick Vermijl

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Was highly-rated by Alex Ferguson when he joined United as a youngster, and the versatile Belgian full-back has impressed in a variety of roles and been one of the most effective players in United's academy setup. Like another Belgian defender who left United not long ago recently, however, Ritchie de Laet, there may be question marks over whether he has the potential to really make it at Old Trafford.

Doron: "Marnick was the most consistent and dependable player in the Under-21s in the last two seasons. He can play in either fullback position, and despite being very attack-minded, very rarely makes mistakes. He likes to shoot when he get the chance, and almost never seems to tire. He's definitely ready for a loan at 21 and has an outside chance of being a back-up in the first team in a year or so, particularly if Alexander Buttner lasts no more than one additional year. It's more likely that he'll end up elsewhere in the future though."

14. Davide Petrucci

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Signed from Roma at the same time his compatriot Federico Macheda was brought from Lazio, Petrucci was the higher-rated of the two but terrible injury problems severely restricted his development. A supremely elegant player, capable of playing in a variety of midfield roles with excellent touch and vision, his time at United will be running out - only a season of full fitness and excellent form could save him now, but it wouldn't at all be a surprise to see him excel elsewhere.

Doron: "So much talent, technically outstanding and has a rare ability to control a game and set the tempo. He's able to drop deep or play off a striker - he's a passer and a chance creator who's happy to get mud on his shorts too. He's probably two years behind where he should be due to a never ending stream of injuries but that the club persist with him is testament to his determination and ability. He did well on loan last season at Peterborough before injury cut his time there short. He's nearly 22 now, so it's either another loan or a chance in the first team squad for him this season - probably the former as he didn't go on tour. If he can stay fit then he still has an outside chance at United but one must assume he'll peak elsewhere."

13. Ryan Tunnicliffe

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Once heralded as one of a potentially great home-grown midfield along with Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison. We know how the other two turned out, and although Tunnicliffe managed to get first-team action, his development has stalled somewhat as his limitations seem to stick with him. A hugely aggressive, determined and ferocious midfielder, he still requires a subtlety to his play which still eludes him. On loan at Ipswich this season, which could be his last real chance to show he has what it takes.

Doron: "Ryan hasn't quite kicked on as many thought and hoped he might have by now. He's a tough tackling, box-to-box type, and has a right mean streak to him. He's certainly improved his use of the ball and become very handy in the final third lately, too. Oddly, his loan spells always seem to set him back - he's tended to come back from them looking like he's carrying a little extra weight and when he's gone back into the Under-21s he's looked off the pace. However after a few games he looks sharp and fit again - he finished the end of last season incredibly strongly. It'll be make or break time for him this year. I still think he has the right attitude for United but maybe he'll just never be good enough."

12. Jack Barmby

The son of Nicky Barmby, Jack is very highly-regarded at Old Trafford and is a very eye-catching player. A powerful winger who combines trickery with physicality and a ferocious shot - all of those attributes were on display with some memorable goals in a recent Milk Cup in the video above. Still has a lot to learn, but his raw talent is unquestionable - if his attitude and development can match it, he could certainly have a chance of making it at the club.

Doron: "A very direct player, and definitely too selfish, but he'll learn. Physically, he's coming along well and is starting to broaden out nicely. The club have always thought highly of him. It's his first full year as an Under-21 coming up after a strange season with the U18s last time round - he often struggled to get in the side but did get a run towards the back end of the season. Ultimately he's a match-winner and I wouldn't be amazed if he has a good season."

11. Sam Johnstone

While United will hope that their goalkeeping position is tied down for many years to come with David de Gea, it would be unfair to point out that Sam Johnstone is one of the biggest talents in England for his age and position at the moment. A keeper in a similar mould to United's Spanish number one, whether he'll one day be his understudy or leave in search of first-team action is open to question, but his ability reaches far beyond his years.

Doron: "A much better goalkeeper than I think many realise. Maybe he benefits from so much focus being on outfield players, as he's a really talented player. Given that for most of his Under-21 career he's played on bobbly pitches he's made surprisingly few errors, particularly kicking ones. He still could be better under a high ball but improved a lot and certainly become much more vocal. An excellent shot stopper and capable of some extraordinary saves. He likes the ball at his feet, a bit like de Gea, and is very happy to distribute it to his defenders. He also has underrated concentration levels - often he'll have little to do for a game and then have to pull out a big save.

He did very well out on loan, particularly his Scunthorpe one when he was only 18. Very highly rated in the England set up too. Should go out on loan again this season, maybe to a Championship side. In the future, there's no reason why he and Ben Amos can't battle it out for the number 2 goalkeeper spot."

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