Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has played down talk of more mega-money signings this coming January, indicating the club will look to their academy for reinforcements during the second half of the Premier League campaign.
Woodward remarked, with reference to suggestions that the Red Devils have abandoned their youth policy, that “Manchester United’s academy has produced more footballers currently playing in Europe’s top five leagues than any other club in the UK, with a total of 36 players.”
Here are five youngsters that are expected to feature prominently in 2015:
The 19-year-old has been thrust into the Old Trafford limelight ahead of schedule this term, earning a spot in Northern Ireland’s last Euro 2016 squad due to his sterling efforts.
United have won three and lost just one of the four Premier League matches McNair has appeared in, with the only defeat coming away to champions Manchester City courtesy of a sole Sergio Aguero strike.
Louis van Gaal is likely to resist calls for McNair to be retained in the first team for the trip to Arsenal at the weekend, a match the Red Devils are 9/4 to win, with at least two of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling expected to be available again, but big things are expected from McNair nonetheless.
Two goals within just over an hour of his first United start, under then-caretaker boss Ryan Giggs against Hull in May, announced Wilson to the football world.
The Staffordshire striker is yet to get off the mark this term, but four second-half substitute appearances in his side’s last five Premier League games suggests Van Gaal is also a fan.
United are not flush with left-backs, with James and Luke Shaw the only two true ‘specialists’ in the position, so the Lancashire lad may well be called upon as the campaign progresses.
James has only made one competitive appearance for the Red Devils, in the Capital One Cup back in August, but the 21-year-old featured prominently during United’s unbeaten tour of the USA during the summer, scoring twice in a 7-0 win over LA Galaxy.
There is some talk that, with Michael Carrick and Daley Blind coming back from international duty injured, this Belgium-born midfielder could feature in the top flight for the first time in a Red Devils shirt at the Emirates, having been promoted to the first-team squad when the ‘Iron Tulip’ took over.
Pereira was born near Antwerp, but turns out for Brazil’s Under-20 side, for whom the 18-year-old qualifies through his father.
Along with Pereira and James, Swiss teenager Janko was the third Old Trafford youngster yet to make a Premier League appearance name-dropped by the Manchester Evening News, who extensively covered Woodward’s recent comments.
Janko was voted reserve team player of the year at Old Trafford in his first campaign at the club last term and also made his United debut in this season’s Capital One Cup.