Manchester United Under-19s won 2-1 against BSC Young Boys U19s on Wednesday afternoon. Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Charlie McNeill secured the points for the Reds.
Despite the fact that the result would have no bearings on the Group F table, the encounter was a lively one, with multiple United players standing out.
McNeill’s late goal was a touch of class, as he dinked the ball over the top of Elio Castro to win the game for United, but it was his inch-perfect assist for the opener which caught many people’s eye.
A wonderful cross-field pass in behind the opposition defence allowed Garnacho to strike first-time into the back of the net, giving United the lead.
After Jonathan De Donno equalised mid-way through the second half, it was McNeill who yet again produced a magical moment in front of goal to score his seventh of the season.
Although his contributions in front of goal were brilliant, it was in fact McNeill’s expanding repertoire in his first season of Under-23s football that impresses his manager the most.
“Charlie would be the first to admit that it’s been a challenge for him stepping up to U23s level,” manager Neil Wood told UtdDistrict after the game.
“He had a season last year where he scored a lot of goals and now we’re trying to develop his all-round game more.” The United manager proclaimed after McNeill scored 24 goals for the Under-18s last campaign.
“We’re trying to get him to see the value that he doesn’t have to be scoring goals to be playing well.”
Although the striker was directly involved in both goals against the team from Switzerland, his manager admitted that he thought his strongest performance came on the weekend when United Under-23s dismantled Blackburn 4-0 — yet McNeill didn’t find the scoresheet.
“For me, his best game was at the weekend against Blackburn. I thinks that’s the best I’ve seen him play in terms of work-rate, in terms of holding the ball up, playing with quality and bringing others into play.
“The challenge for him today was to continue that. I think he’s looking sharper, he’s looking more physical, he’s liking the contact more, which is something that playing as a centre forward, he’s going to have to deal with.
“I said to him [after the Blackburn game] it was the best he’d played, and he said ‘yeah, and I didn’t score’, I was like you don’t have to score to play well, so hopefully it’s going in!
“Then today he gets an assist and a goal, so he’s had a successful day.”