Belgian midfielder Indy Boonen joined Manchester United’s academy in September 2015 and has already been labelled ‘the new Ryan Giggs’ thanks to his mesmeric dribbling skills and cultured left foot.
Though he tends to play on the left wing, Boonen’s future may lie in a more central position, where his creativity and razor sharp eye for a pass could be most effective.
The 17-year-old has become somewhat of a YouTube sensation thanks to his ability to pull off breathtaking tricks and flicks, all with the express aim of conjuring a goal-scoring chance for himself or a team-mate.
The most notable example of which was during an under-18s game against Everton earlier this season. After seeing his shot from the edge of the penalty area parried by the Toffees’ goalkeeper, Boonen reacted quickly to collect the rebounding ball.
He then swiftly Cruyff-turned away from his marker before rounding the goalkeeper and unselfishly squaring the ball for Nishan Burkart to score an easy tap-in. Boonen’s moment of brilliance drew United level with Everton before an Angel Gomes hat-trick helped the Red Devils win 5-1.
In a recent interview with Voetbal Krant, Boonen outlined his desire to replicate Marcus Rashford’s success with the senior team: “Even with Marcus, they did not say that he was getting close to [the first-team].
“He really is a top player, I had a very good relationship with him. We blindly found each other in matches and in training.
“Rashford skipped the Under-21s, and immediately went into the first team. He is an example for every young player at United.
“When he has the ball, you immediately see that he has something special.”
Boonen clearly has something special too. Hopefuly it won’t be too long before he gets the chance to play alongside Rashford again.