Manchester United youth round-up: u18s in rich vein of form as u23s draw

Kieran McKenna's under-18 side scored five for the third consecutive week as the under-23s drew 1-1 with Manchester City.

Manchester United youth round-up: u18s in rich vein of form as u23s draw
The under-23 Manchester derby ended 1-1 | Photo: Daily Mail

As the first team at Manchester United looked void of attacking prowess in the first 35 minutes of a Manchester derby defeat, the same cannot be said for their under-18 side.

Kieran McKenna recently took over as under-18s boss, leaving Tottenham Hotspur, and has overseen two wins so far, scoring ten goals in the process. In fact, the under-18s have won three consecutive games in the U18 Premier League, scoring five goals in each victory.

Under-18s quartet shines once more

This time, West Bromwich Albion were the unfortunate opponents of the blossoming quarter of Angel GomesIndy BoonenTahith Chong, and DJ Buffonge.

Evan Pierce gave West Brom an early lead but Indy Boonen quickly cancelled it out, turning his marker superbly before leaving a second defender for dead and finishing well from the edge of the penalty area.

Gomes in action for United | Photo: Manchester United FC
Gomes in action for United | Photo: Manchester United FC

Gomes, who turned 16 only a couple of weeks ago, scored a fifth goal in four starts, taking him level at the top of the goalscoring charts (with Derby County's Cameron Cresswell). Tahith Chong, signed from Feyenoord in the summer, put in a wonderful floated cross and Gomes, although small in figure, headed home.

George Tanner gratefully received a cut back from the ever-present Gomes before finishing past Bradley House for a 3-1 lead. Rayhaan Tulloch and Rekeem Harper both scored for the Baggies to make things level after half-time.

Chong pounced on a loose ball in a crowded penalty area, lunging to his left to poke in a fourth goal for the Reds before Aidan Barlow finished things off with an 89th-minute penalty.

Under-23s draw to Manchester City away from home

It was almost a warm-up to the huge spectacle of the first team Manchester derby, the under-23 sides meeting each other at City.

United's under-23 squad is overwhelmingly weak, despite some good prospects within the side such as Axel Tuanzebe and Regan Poole, both of whom may make appearances this season. There are others, too, but the squad has no natural striker, and very few natural wingers either.

Against City, three players were tried as a lone striker, all three midfielders. Demetri Mitchell began the game up front, but couldn't contribute greatly in such a role.

Matty Willock gave United a first-half lead with a wonderful solo goal. Brahim Diaz, one of the finest talents at Manchester City, equalised in the second-half, curling one past Kieran O'Hara. The goalkeeper, who received a first call-up for the Republic of Ireland under-20 side during the international break, made a fantastic save in the dying moments of the game to ensure United took away a point.

Tuanzebe was United's best player on the pitch, looking as composed as ever, and distributing the ball from central defence with ease once more. The 18-year-old has been handed the captaincy of the side after the departure of James Weir to Hull City on a permanent deal.

In further good news, Ro-Shaun Williams warmed up with his teammates as he looks to return from injury, he was not part of the squad, however.