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Ex-Manchester United players blown away by “phenomenal” academy product against Sheffield United



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Two former Manchester United players have raved about Ethan Wheatley – the latest academy product to make his debut.

Ethan Wheatley replaced Rasmus Højlund in the final minutes against Sheffield United, becoming the 250th player to leap out of the Manchester United academy to keep in line with the rich history the club has with its youth products.

During the Premier League tie, United came back from behind twice to eventually defeat the Blades 4-2 at Old Trafford thanks to a mammoth second-half performance from Bruno Fernandes, with the skipper grabbing two goals and an assist.

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It was very much another escape from a potential horror result for Erik ten Hag, but the positive of another youth player debut under the Dutch manager should be recognised.

Speaking to MUTV after the game, former United player Danny Simpson was gushing with praise for the young strike.

“Look at the size of him, he’s got everything. I know what he’s capable of,” Simpson said in reaction to the victory.

“He’s a big man and a good finisher, he’s a good kid as well. What I like about him, he’s a bit feisty.”

Wheatley has caught the eye of many in the last couple of weeks. The player scored a hat trick against Liverpool in the U18s Premier League and then a brace against Manchester City in the U18s PL Cup final on Monday evening.

Phil Bardsley, who spent five years at United, explained to MUTV that the cup final was the first time he had seen the 17-year-old play in person and that he was very impressed with what he witnessed.

“The movement and first touch and composure to finish absolutely sensational. His goalscoring record is phenomenal,” Bardsley said.

“It was the first time I’ve seen him close up; you want your centre-forward to be big; he looks like he could handle himself.”

Bardsley added after the game: “I was delighted to see Wheatley make his debut tonight because he is an exceptional player.”