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“Toughest attacking player I’ve coached in 30 years” – Man United academy player receives Roy Keane-like praise



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Credit: Imago

Manchester United are known for producing great young players from their academy and have several exciting teenagers in their ranks currently.

After too many years of reduced talent coming through Carrington, there seems to have been a shift in the last few years and United now have several players with real pathways into the first-team.

Alejandro Garnacho broke through last term and is one of the most exciting young talents in European football. Kobbie Mainoo looks to be on his way to make a similar impact this season despite having an injury knockback in pre-season

There are also the likes of Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez and Joe Hugill, who all have the potential to be squad players at Old Trafford in the near future.

19-year-old Dan Gore is another academy player who has impressed in recent months and he was awarded with his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup third-round victory against Crystal Palace.

His cameo, on his 19th birthday, was extremely promising as he displayed his passing and dribbling ability as well as his surprising strength in possession of the ball as he rode multiple challenges that came his way.

Gore seems to be a little bit of a throwback player, despite his small size and frame, putting his all into tackles and not leaving anything on the pitch, an attribute that fans love. “It was a good experience, there were loads of fans here and it’s always good to play with a supporting crowd,” he eloquently told club media after one pre-season game last summer.

Whilst comparisons in quality are certainly premature, the young players’ playstyle is not too dissimilar to that of Roy Keane, who would boss the United midfield for many years with both quality and pure grit on show at the same time.

The talented English central midfielder joined United in the summer of 2021 from Burnley and won the U18s Player of the Year last term.

Lee Waddington, a coach with nearly 30 years of experience, was the man to scout a young Gore whilst working as the Foundation Phase Lead Coach and Head of Talent I.D. at Burnley. He believes that the 18-year-old is the ‘toughest attacking player’ he has ever coached.

“There’s a player in there that I have a special connection to, he’s called Danny Gore,” Waddington told the Manchester Evening News back in 2021.

“He was my first signing at Burnley and now he’s at Man United Under-16s and I think he’s an extraordinary talent. That’s not because of me that’s just because of him. Great lad, fantastic work ethic, feet on the ground but he’s just got that unpredictability about him. To either score goals or make goals.

“He’s the toughest attacking player I’ve ever coached in my 30 years.

“I remember going to Carrington when he was maybe 12, 13, Man United have always had quality players, they had two centre-halves who were huge and Danny was really small at the time, he was rapid quick but he was a bit small. He absolutely terrorised these two centre-backs and I think it was at that point that United caught sight of him and thought this might be a potential United player.

“Plays for England as well. I think he’s got a massive, massive future there.”