Travis Binnion’s Manchester United under-18s impressed at Old Trafford as they thrashed Everton 4-1 in the FA Youth Cup fifth round. They’ll be facing Leicester City in the quarter-finals later this month.
Despite an early scare, with Francis Okoronkwo giving the visiting side the perfect start to the game on 11 minutes, United responded within two minutes when Alejandro Garnacho won a penalty for the Reds.
Charlie McNeill stepped up and finished emphatically with a powerful finish into the right side of the goal. United were back in the game and McNeill had his third goal of the competition.
It was not too long before the striker was involved again, where he played the ball out to Marc Jurado on the right flank. The full-back whipped a delicious cross into the area and it was met by the head of Kobbie Mainoo, who found the corner of the net to give United the lead.
It was mid-way through the second half where Sam Mather continued his fine form this season; finding a third for the hosts.
After some superb defending from the Toffies’ backline, which involved blocking close-range shots from McNeill and Omari Forson, Mather smashed his left-footed shot into the back of the net to extend United’s lead.
It was comfortable for the hosts from there on out, and in the late minutes of the game Alejandro Garnacho was rewarded with a goal after a threatening performance from the left-wing.
The Spaniard was constantly causing the opposition problems with his direct play with the ball at his feet, and that’s exactly what he did in the last minutes.
After receiving the ball deep in his own half, Garnacho glided towards the left wing and had Everton’s captain Mathew Mallon in pursuit. However, after turning on the afterburners, Garnacho left the opposition defender in the dust and drove into the penalty area where he was able to calmly slot the ball past Patrick Nash.
The incredible run and finish was duly matched with the forward ripping his shirt off and performing the ‘Siuuu!’ celebration to top off a perfect night for the young devils.
The left-winger now has two goals and two assists in the competition which United have not won since 2011, when the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard were in the youth side. It would be a great achievement for the club to lift the prestigious youth cup once again.
Having the likes of Shola Shoretire, Zidane Iqbal, Charlie Savage and Will Fish in attendance for the game on Wednesday evening — all of which have made a first team appearance at the Theatre of Dreams — showed that there is a pathway for these players.
Ralf Rangnick told media earlier this week that he wanted to watch an FA Youth Cup fixture but was unable to be in attendance when United hosted Scunthorpe in the third round due to COVID-19 in the United camp at the time.
If he was able to attend this time around, he would’ve certainly been impressed with a number of players but perhaps Garnacho would’ve caught the German’s eye with his direct performance from the wing.