Manchester United's top 20 youngsters: #6. One answer to our midfield problems?

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Continuing our series ranking Manchester United's top 20 youngsters, Larnell Cole comes in at number six.

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 previous instalments of this series, you can find the full list of our top Manchester United youngsters here.

#6: Larnell Cole

No relation to Andy, Larnell Cole is a Manchester-born youngster who was likely only kept out of appearing on the first-team's pre-season this year due to his participation in the Under-20 World Cup. He made the headlines last season with a stunning hat-trick against Liverpool and continued his form to cement his place as one of the most highly-rated youngsters at the club.

A skillful midfielder who possesses an extraordinary touch, vision and technique, Cole could find some games in the first team this season assuming he is not loaned out, even considering the expected arrival of midfield reinforcements. There is no such thing as a sure bet in this age group, but Cole appeares to have all the attributes necessary to make his mark at United.

Doron: "My favourite of all the young players at the club. Like Jesse Lingard, Cole is proof that being small should never be a hindrance to having a career in football. If Lingard is about fast flowing football then Cole is about passing, moving and ghosting. Originally a central midfielder and more often than not now a winger with freedom to roam, he's a pass master. He loves being on the ball and is brilliant in tight situations when one touch football is required. Watching him at the Under-20 World Cup he made such an obvious and huge difference to England when he was involved - he added a calmness and assertiveness in possession whilst no pass was wasted.


The staff have worked really hard on his defensive qualities and he's played a fair amount of football, particularly in pre-season, at right back to help him develop. Although he's spending pre-season with our U21 side, I've no doubt that if it wasn't for the U20 World Cup, he'd have been with the first team. His finale to last season couldn't have been more emphatic - a hat-trick in the U21 league semi final against Liverpool and then two goals in the final against Spurs to secure the title. It was a timely reminder of the fact he's always been a player who scores goals (he also has an U18 hat-trick against Man City to his name). At a time when the England set-up allegedly needs more technically able players at all levels he's one who should be involved whenever possible. If he's to go on loan, it better be to a side that 'plays football' but like Adnan Januzaj and Lingard, you get the feeling he'd be better off staying at United and being given chances in the first team where possible."

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