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Stars Of The Future – Forwards

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Following on from my look at the promising youngsters in Manchester United’s defence and midfield, it’s time to look at the promising forward players at Old Trafford.

Do United have the next Rooney, George Best or Ruud Van Nistelrooy rising through the ranks? Read on and find out.

Javier Hernandez

When talking about young talent at United you can’t go far without discussing Chicarito. The young star of the 2010 World Cup became the first ever Mexican player to play in the famous Red shirt when he signed for United last season and what a blinding first season it was!

Chicarito made his debut 63 minutes into the 2010 MLS All Star game and had already scored his first United goal within 18 minutes; – this was definitely a sign of things to come. The youngster forced his way into the first team and became a regular fixture in the United squad, forging a great partnership with Wayne Rooney.

Goal after goal followed for Chicarito and not content with setting one record in becoming the first Mexican at Old Trafford he matched the record of a United legend in becoming the first player to score 20 goals in his debut season since Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

To top his phenomenal debut in the United shirt Chicarito was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, was named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, led Mexico to victory in the 2011 Gold Cup (where he wa named the player of the tournament) AND was announced as the International Federation of Football History and Statistics’ ‘World Goal-Getter 2011’ ahead of stars such as Radamel Falcao, Guiseppe Rossi and Lionel Messi.

If Hernandez can avoid second season syndrome and build on his relationship with Rooney once he returns from injury then our strike force could be unstoppable this season.

Danny Welbeck

Danny spent last season at loan with Sunderland and to be honest it did the youngster the world of good. Welbeck formed a great partnership up-front with Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan and his top form saw him earn a call up to the England senior squad.

This season however Welbeck is here to stay! I have a feeling that senior strikers Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen may be fighting for their place in the first team this season, especially after Welbeck’s good pre-season showing.

Danny has struggled in previous seasons with injury but if he can stay fit and build on his newfound form he could become a regular face in the United side this season. He clearly has the ambition to play at Old Trafford for the long-term, it will be a question of waiting to see if he has the quality though.

Federico Macheda

The young Italian is another young player that returns to the club this season. Kiko spent the second half of last season on loan with Sampdoria and was seen as a temporary replacement for Antoino Cassano who had left to go to Milan.

Unfortunately his time out in Geona was frustrating and he did get as many opportunities as he and Sir Alex would have liked to him to have had. Having made some key appearances for United in seasons past before injuries hampered his development, I’m hopeful the talented young striker will be given his chance again by Sir Alex.

However there is strong competition up front and Macheda may struggle to compete against the likes of Berbatov, Welbeck and Owen for regular first team football this season. However with this season likely to be Owen’s last season at the club and with rumours that Berbatov will be on his way out space may open for Macheda to make the step up in the next few years.

Gabriel Obertan 

Obertan joined the club from Bordeaux in 2009 and has been a key player in the United Reserves team ever since. The young Frenchman has made some a number of appearances for the senior side but has some stiff competition as a winger. Gabriel has been capped at every level up to Under 21’s but is yet to break in to the senior squad.

In the last week or so transfer rumours have appeared regarding a £3 million move to Newcastle for the Frenchman and with stiff competition from Nani, Antonio Valencia and new singing Ashley Young on the wing I wouldn’t be surprised to see the youngster leave Old Trafford in search of more first team football.

It would be a loss to the club as Gabriel is a great talent but the fact remains if he can’t break in to the squad on a regular basis he will more than likely depart and that’s what looks like he’s about to do.

Mame Diouf

The first Senegalese player at United, Diouf returns to Old Trafford from loan spell with Blackburn last season that saw the young striker net 6 goals. The ability to play regular premier league football has clearly paid off for Mame as he was included in the United squad for the pre-season tour of America and even came off the bench to score against MLS outfit the Seattle Sounders.

An even more impressive performance came in Paul Scholes’ Testimonial match against the New York Cosmos where Mame found the back of the net twice. This new found eye for goal and the ability to make an impact from the bench may see Diouf earn regular first team football as an impact player.

Joshua King

This young Norweigan striker shows a lot of promise. Last season King spent a short loan spell with Preston North End, making 9 appearances and scoring once, before returning to United to score 8 goals for the United Reserves.

This season sees King experience top flight football with Borrussia Monchengladbach in Germany. Playing against top teams like Bayern Munich, Borrusia Dortmund and Hamburg should give Josh some much needed experience and prepare him well on his return next season. Josh is definitely someone who could emerge in the next season or two.


The arrival of Bebe was heralded as a ‘fairy-tale story’ by Sir Alex but the youngster has yet to reach his happily ever after. Bought by the club without having even been viewed by Ferguson due to his high potential that earned him recommendations from scouts and Portuguese head coach and former United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz.

Bebe does indeed have raw potential and his training with the first team last season would have helped him develop and get used to the English language, mentality and the unique way we play football.

This season the youngster has been sent on loan to Turkish side Besiktas to further his development this is definitely integral to Bebe’s future in the game. The loan is rumoured to come with the option to purchase the youngster for £2 million however I think Bebe has a future at Old Trafford and he could really flourish.

By @JamesSportsBlog