Last Match: United 7-0 Norwich (Keane x5, Pereira (p), Fosu-Mensah)
Despite last weeks game against Everton, the way the under-21 side have been playing and the strength of the line-up on the night meant this result was coming. Memphis does actually qualify as under-21 having been born in 1994, making his first appearance for the under-21s dropping down from the first-team. Phil Jones also got 60 minutes returning from injury in one of the strongest under-21 line ups in years.
Will Keane is oozing confidence and always finds himself in the right place to get the goals for the side. After great work from Pereira he smashed in his first, shortly after Memphis showed his speed and strength to put it on a plate for his second. Januzaj and Varela both went off injured as Norwich threw themselves about in the first half.
The second-half was complete dominance, unlike other teams United never sat on what they had, it was ruthless and clinical and made for great viewing at Old Trafford. Keane got his hatrick and allowed Pereira to take a soft awarded penalty to make it 4-0. Then came the goal of the night, if not season. Will Keane picked up the ball from James Weir and beat two defenders before scooping the ball over the keeper and into the far corner. The audacity just reflects how confident he is right now.
Fosu-Mensah added to his growing repertoire of positions; CM, CDM, CB, CAM, and now LB, nothing seems to phase him. It is a great sight when a player of his stature is surging forward up the pitch as he latched onto a Memphis pass and tucked home for his first goal at under-21 level. His usual u18 centre back parter Ro-Shaun Williams looked particularly pleased for him.
Will Keane rounded of the scoring with his fifth of the night, making it 10 goals in his last 6 games. Memphis played very well on the wing getting 3 assists as did Pereira who was in his element with the amount of space Norwich gave him. It is also worth mentioning an outrageous piece of skill by Memphis down in the corner, nutmegging a poor Norwich defender who would’ve been having nightmares on the long journey back to Norfolk.
Line Up; Romero, Love, Jones, McNair, Varela, Januzaj, Weir, Harrop, Pereira, Memphis, Keane
Subs; Pereira, Williams, Willock, Rothwell, Fosu-Mensah
Player Focus: Regan Poole
The 17-year old Summer signing who had to wait 5 months for international clearance (From Wales!) to play. He became the youngest ever player to appear for Newport County at 16-years of age last season making 16 appearances for them in total. He had been on trial with United before he made his debut for Newport. He also had a trial for Liverpool last summer, however Poole saw sense and signed for United for £100,000 in September last year. Following his 5 month wait he made his debut coming on for 10 minutes behind closed doors at Everton last week.
Having never seen him play I cannot comment on his playing style however he plays at centre-back and has obviously impressed the club in order to sign him and now Louis Van Gaal has shown his faith in him giving him the number 41 shirt and including him in the senior Europa League squad. Hopefully this exciting prospect from Cardiff can repay the faith shown in him. He needs match fitness and may play for the under-18/under-21 sides more regularly in the coming months.
Talking Point: Will Keane
As mentioned earlier 10 goals in his last 6 matches with 3 assists too. Louis Van Gaal was in attendance last night which is unusual for him as he rarely shows up at under-21 matches. Having seen 5 goals from the 23 year old he must be having some thoughts about first-team football for him, you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. Keane has actually made a first-team appearance coming on during the infamous 3-2 loss to Blackburn in 2011 which is well known for certain debut not being made. In the match I can recall Blackburn keeper Mark Bunn unsportingly mocking him for missing a chance towards the end, a warm welcome to first team football.
Keane has been on loan to Wigan, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, and most recently Preston North End. However overall he has amassed a mere 4 goals in 47 appearances, but since his return from Preston in December he has looked a new player and has prospered with Pereira behind him and Januzaj on the wing. Having been at the club since 2007 and notably winning the Jimmy Murphy young player of the year in 2009/10 and being a vital member of the Youth Cup winning side of 2011. He deserves a chance up front in the up and coming Europa league and FA cup games.
The mystery continues with Tyler Blackett up in Glasgow as he did not appear in the squad for Celtic as they lost to Aberdeen 2-1 and beat East Kilbride 2-0 in the Scottish Cup. Ashley Fletcher has had an eventful week as Barnsley reached the final of the football league trophy, despite Fletcher missing a sitter of a header the Tykes went through on penalties, Fletcher did not take one. He then played 25 minutes against Bury at the weekend and managed an assist within a minute of coming on as Barnsley won 3-0. James Wilson had an anonymous half for Brighton as they beat Brentford 3-0 on Friday night. On Humberside Nick Powell is yet to make his debut for top of the table Hull.
Next Match: Man City [H]
United have the mini Manchester derby coming up at Leigh Sports Village tomorrow, Thursday 11th Feb, kick off 20:00. A win would put United top of the league.