When it comes to having ready-to-use talent available, Manchester United are not short of options.
The club’s academy continues to be packed with young and hungry talent, some of whom have already excelled in the first team, such as Marcus Rashford and, more recently, Anthony Elanga.
United’s record of promoting from within is nothing to be sneezed at.
There is no shortage of youngsters who have made the jump from the Under-23s to the first team in years past, suggesting United should continue that trend in years to come with talent threatening to simmer, be it from the ranks inferior or those that were on loan.
One of those currently making all the right noises and pressing all the right buttons is left-back Brandon Williams, who is currently on loan at Norwich.
Williams joined the Canaries, who had recently returned to the top flight of English football at the time, on loan for the duration of this season in August, seeking regular first-team opportunities at Premier League level.
After initially struggling to secure a regular starting job under former manager Daniel Farke, the left-back has gone from strength to strength under now Norwich boss Dean Smith, who took over in November.
He has made 11 appearances with Smith, compared to the eight he made with Farke, and the former Aston Villa boss seems to have struck a chord in his attempts to get a consistent tune out of Williams.
The 21-year-old United youngster has played a key role in Norwich’s strong start to 2022, which continued with a 1-0 victory over Wolves in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday, helping them keep three clean sheets in their first five games. this calendar year.
His performances have not gone unnoticed by the Canarian fans either, who recently voted him their Player of the Month for January, following his contributions in the Premier League wins over Everton and Watford, as well as the FA Cup win over Charlton Athletic. .
On winning the award, he said, “Personally, I really put my foot down, got comfortable and settled in. Now I’m ready for the next part of the season.”
“The goal against Everton was something to remember and when you think about it, it makes you want more. It was a good game, we got the result and I was happy to help Adam [Idah] for his first goal.
“It’s important that I increase those numbers and I want to keep going to have more of these moments.”
With Williams continuing his steady progress at Carrow Road, United bosses ahead of next season will no doubt be planning how to integrate him into the team for next season.
He had played 50 times for United before celebrating his 21st birthday, highlighting his high regard.
There’s also Ethan Laird to note, another homegrown young full-back who is shining away from Old Trafford on loan this season, impressing so much for Swansea in the Championship that he has now joined Bournemouth’s promotion boosters.
So, with Williams continuing to prove himself at Premier League level on a weekly basis, United could have some options to save on a big-money winger move in the future.
Luke Shaw and Alex Telles are expected to continue battling it out for the left-back spot for the foreseeable future, but Williams has the potential to throw his hat in the ring before too long. He can also play on the right side, like Laird, giving Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka some competition.
United wasted several months last year chasing a right-back in the form of Kieran Tripper, but they shouldn’t need to do the same on the other side of defence, at least not this summer.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.