Man Utd could field stunning team of Under-23s next season with £30m Jude Bellingham signing and Dean Henderson return – The Sun
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has been roundly criticised for his management of Manchester United this season.
A bad result has never felt far away for the Red Devils – but could there be method in the madness?
United's squad has been in need of a refresh since the ultimately unsuccessful tenures of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
And despite the fact that Ed Woodward has so far failed to shift all of the squad's deadwood, the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Matteo Darmian have been discarded under Solskjaer's watch.
While United are certainly still flawed, there is a talented young nucleus forming at Old Trafford.
And with SunSport yesterday exclusively revealing that the Red Devils have offered £30million for Birmingham City's prodigious 16-year-old Jude Bellingham – they could be about to become one of the most exciting young teams in Europe.
Here, we take a look at how Solskjaer could line up a complete side of players under 23 next season.
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
David de Gea, once the most respected goalkeeper in the league, has lost his magic touch.
The 29-year-old has bumbled and flapped his way to a number of high-profile gaffes in the last 18 months.
And next season could be the time for United to ditch the Spaniard, who tried to ditch them in the past, and replace him with academy graduate Dean Henderson.
The 22-year-old has impressed on loan at Sheffield United in the Premier League this season – enough to finally earn a chance at Old Trafford.
Henderson was called up to the England squad for the first time in October and many more call-ups are set to follow for the talented shot-stopper.
In front of him, a talented young defence could be forming.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was recruited in the summer for around £50m and with his tackling ability and improving instincts going forward, he looks like making the right-back slot his own for many years to come.
Meanwhile on the left, Brandon Williams is enjoying an incredible breakthrough season.
The tenacious 18-year-old has already usurped Luke Shaw in the United pecking order and has impressed with his tenacity and maturity in the spotlight at such a tender age.
Injuries have blighted Axel Tuanzebe's season, with the 22-year-old having floated around the first team squad at United for the last few years.
Having impressed on loan at Aston Villa last season, Tuanzebe could still burst through at United, and play alongside Timothy Fosu-Mensah after the once-hyped the Dutchman returns to fitness.
As for the midfield, Scott McTominay has already cemented his place, showing the sort of leadership qualities that could make him a future United captain.
Solskjaer has suffered when without the Scotland international's drive, discipline and positivity at the heart of his midfield.
And McTominay isn't the only talented midfielder to have come through at Carrington.
James Garner has been labelled the next Michael Carrick, with Solskjaer having debuted the elegant shuttler – so far giving the 18-year-old seven outings for the first team.
THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
Then, there's Bellingham.
Described as the most exciting English prospect since Wayne Rooney, big clubs are falling over themselves to sign him from Birmingham City.
If Solskjaer can secure his signature, the 46-year-old might just have found someone to build his team around for years and even decades to come.
Bellingham's creativity can help the front three prosper, with the United attackers benefiting from his intelligence and skill.
And what a front three it could be.
Although currently injured, Marcus Rashford has shown that he is developing into a leader for his side.
having his best goal-scoring season to date with 19, the 22-year-old has already astonishingly featured 201 times for the Red Devils.
And he has begun to showcase his ability to grab games by the scruff of the neck and truly leave his mark on them.
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