Guillermo Varela (Uruguay)
After an impressive string of games in the first-team, Varela earned his first ever Uruguay call up. He was included in the match day squad, however was an un-used sub as Uruguay came from behind to draw 2-2 with Brazil in World Cup Qualification in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was again left on the bench as Uruguay beat Peru 1-0 to go to of their World Cup Qualification group, as he is still waiting to make his full international debut.
Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland)
McNair impressed in a new midfield role during Northern Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Wales on Thursday night. His performance led to praise from Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neil who believes that the midfield role is his best position. On Monday he played another 79 minutes as he helped Northern Ireland beat Slovenia 1-0 to set a new record for his country by going 10 games unbeaten.
Andreas Pereira (Brazil U23)
Following his switch from Belgium to Brazil in 2014, Pereira has impressed for his newly adopted nation, most notably his excellent performances which helped Brazil reach the final in the Under-20 World Cup last Summer. Friday saw Brazil lose 1-0 to Nigeria, Pereira himself tweeted a video captioned “Unfortunately we lost to Nigeria in a friendly match. In the end I had a chance, but it did not go in”. Without seeing the video you would be forgiven thinking it was a glaring miss, but perhaps Andreas is being too critical of himself here as it was a 25 yard dipping effort which was well saved. On Sunday however Pereira did get on the scoresheet and showed what he is capable of, scoring a neat solo effort in Brazil’s 3-1 friendly defeat of South Africa.
— Andreas Pereira (@andrinhopereira) 28 March 2016
Donald Love (Scotland U21)
Donald Love’s Scotland Under-21 side probably had the toughest test in comparison to the other matches. They faced a very strong France Under-21 side which included captain Aymeric Laporte, PSG’s Adrien Rabiot and Lyon’s Corentin Tolliso. Love faced a busy 90 minutes at right-back as they lost 2-0 in Angers. Love then started again, playing the full game at right-back as Scotland came from behind to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 on Tuesday.
James Wilson (England U21)
After scoring on his England Under-21 debut last September, Wilson has yet to make an appearance since. This continued on Saturday when the 20-year old was an unused substitute during England’s 1-1 draw away to Switzerland.
Joel Pereira (Portugal U19)
The Swiss-born keeper made the International switch to Portugal in 2012 and was selected to represent their under-20 side over the past week. He started in goal as Portugal drew 1-1 with the Netherlands, Pereira was unfortunate to concede a last minute penalty in the match.
Ashley Fletcher (England U20)
One of the three United players involved in the fixtures between England and Canada as it turned out to be a very busy week for the Yorkshireman. The first fixture between England and Canada was played behind closed doors on Thursday, Fletcher came off the bench late on to do what he does best and score a goal as England won 4-1. The more official friendly between the two sides at the Keepmoat stadium on Sunday told a different story as England lost 2-1. Fletcher got 20 minutes off the bench towards the end but could not replicate his earlier feat. His lack of game-time did however benefit Barnsley as he managed 90 minutes the very next day helping his side to a 1-0 victory over Port Vale.
Marcus Rashford (England U20)
After an eventful week which saw him juggling school work with a derby-day winner, Rashford was called into the England Under-20 squad and understandably with a lot of hype surrounding him. Marcus came off the bench in the behind closed doors game to play 20 minutes on Thursday. He did however start on Sunday as England went down 2-1 to Canada, he played all 90 minutes and although he may not have enjoyed the immediate impact he had at United, he did manage to get an assist for England’s only goal. This credible performance however led to the English media showing their true colours when it comes to a talented young english player.
“Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford draws blank and suffers defeat on England U20 debut against Canada.” were what most of the headlines read as. I understand the standards have been set high for Rashford’s future performances but this typifies the English press, who coincidentally have run features on the miss-management of youth in this country; Matt Lawless of the Mirror, Oliver Todd of the Mail, Ben Pringle of the Express. These are professional journalists who despicably berated the 18-year old footballer for simply not scoring a goal. Unfortunately Rashford’s nationality and club leaves him vulnerable to this level of criticism in every game he now plays. But his attitude and modesty will hopefully see him turn a blind eye and keep learning and improving on his game. Unlike the vultures within the English press, his manager, coaches and the supporters will show him the patience he needs.
Josh Doughty (Canada U20)
As the second Canadian-born player to ever play for Manchester United behind Owen Hargreaves, he is also the first to represent Canada internationally. The promising young striker however, was left on the bench and did not feature in the second game on Sunday due to a minor injury.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (England U19)
The left-back was an unused sub as England beat Georgia 2-1 on Thursday, however CB-J managed to start the next game and play 67 minutes as England drew 1-1 with Greece in the UEFA U19 Championship on Saturday.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Netherlands U19)
The physical defender from Amsterdam went into the break off the back off some strong first-team cameos and played a pre-planned 45 minutes at centre-back after hip complaints in the Netherlands’ 1-0 defeat of Northern Ireland. His replacement Carel Eiting scored the winning goal, that doesn’t count as an assist though. He shook off any injury worries and started the next game in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Poland. Fosu-Mensah could however face a dilemma in the Summer, as The Netherlands are close to qualifying for the U19 European Championships in July, which would clash with the first-teams’ pre-season tour to China.
Ro-Shaun Williams (England U18)
With Manchester United’s young talent spread so broadly across the age groups within the England youth setup. Ro-Shaun Williams was the sole representative of the Under-18 side. On Wednesday the rapid centre-back came off the bench to play 15 minutes as England overcame Austria 3-2. He then earned himself a start, playing the full 90 minutes as England comfortably beat Republic of Ireland 4-1 on Sunday.
Angel Gomes (England U16)
The youngest international representative at United and probably the one who carries the most expectation and prominence within the academy at the moment. The 15-year old started England’s game against Brazil on Saturday and showed he can perform on the international stage with a stunning goal to open the scoring. Picking up the ball with his back to goal he turned on the edge of the box and fired into the top corner. England however went on to lose the game 3-1, but the match did no harm to Gomes’ growing reputation within the club. His England side then went on to beat Northern Ireland 3-0 on Monday.
The Under-21 side resume their domestic campaign on Monday night where they take on Chelsea at Old Trafford. Kick off is 7pm and entry is free as the team look to close the gap between them and Sunderland at the top.
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