Manchester United fans have grown used to seeing young talent come through the ranks in recent years, with the club introducing a number of young players during their slip down the Premier League table since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
The likes of Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and Andreas Pereira were all introduced into the first-team squad by Louis van Gaal last season, while former United manager David Moyes gave striker James Wilson his first opportunity during the latter stages of the 2013/14 campaign before the Scot was unceremoniously sacked.
And true to form, the next young protégé is ready to be given his chance to impress. 16-year-old Callum Gribbin has been called in to train with the first team upon his return for pre-season training, and the winger is in with a chance of joining the United regulars on their pre-season tour of the United States, which departs next week.
Memphis Depay's first training session
The left-footed teenager is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in United’s academy, and the club praised his talents following his goal-scoring performance against Aston Villa Under-18s in which he netted an inch-perfect free-kick.
His style of play, which includes a slight of touch with the ball alongside sheer pace and the confidence to take on defenders, has led to early comparisons with club legend Ryan Giggs, but the club will be keen to stress that at 16 years old, Gribbin has his whole career ahead of him and is a long, long way from getting near the current United assistant manager.
The youngster looked to be on the verge of leaving United not so long ago when he took to Twitter to criticise the club after being left on the bench for a youth match against Manchester City. It triggered rumours that he was close to a move to rivals Liverpool, but with Van Gaal determined to bring the club’s academy products through the ranks and into the first team, the inclusion in first-team training appears to suggest that he has a bright future at Old Trafford.
Gribbin has already represented England at Under-16 and Under-17 level, and inclusion in the four-game pre-season tour will certainly put him on the right path given it includes games against Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain as well as Club America and San Jose Earthquakes.
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