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Two players ready for first-team football: Man United U21s 1-2 Leeds United U21s



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Credit: Man Utd

In an eagerly anticipated Battle of the Roses at Old Trafford in the second game week of the 2023/24 Premier League 2 season, it was Leeds United who came out on top on Friday night as they beat Manchester United 2-1.

United boss Travis Binnion picked a strong line-up, though they failed to stamp their mark on the game throughout.

Here’s three things we learnt from the fixture at the Theatre of Dreams:

Hannibal Mejbri and Teden Mengi’s need for first team football

Since bursting onto the under 21’s scene at the age of 18 but not particularly successful on their loan spells, Teden Mengi and Hannibal find themselves starting this season still playing at this level, both now aged 21 and 20.

It was evident to those in attendance both Mengi and Hannibal are far too good for the PL2, and it may be time to be given regular minutes at senior level.

The possibility of that happening at Manchester United under Erik ten Hag currently seems unlikely, and the centre back and midfielder’s best bet of senior football may lie away from Old Trafford.

If that is the case, a move away for Mengi and Hannibal must be explored.

Dan Gore a class apart

Since coming on at half time, United looked far brighter in the second half than they did in the opening 45, with Gore the catalyst.

The Salford-born midfielder allowed the Reds to gain a foothold in the game and control possession for large parts of the second half.

One of Gore’s best attributes is progressing with the ball on the half-turn, and it was that attribute which saw him come close after beating a Leeds midfielder, though his shot from around the 25-yard mark bounced off the post.

Another attempt from Gore was drilled just over the bar, but there was no doubt it was the midfielder who was United’s most threatening player on the night.

Gore seemed prepared to go the extra mile, working tirelessly off the ball.

If there was one United player who deserved to leave the pitch with his head held high, it was Gore.

Carrington needs another Alejandro Garnacho

The current crop of Under 21’s are all great technical footballers, able to produce quality with the ball at their feet.

With the United first team gaining an unbelievably gifted one on one winger in Alejandro Garnacho, the academy could do with one willing to stretch defences and produce something out of nothing.