Likes of Josh Harrop and Demetri Mitchell impressed on debuts as Axel Tuanzebe and Joel Pereira got more game time and Angel Gomes made headlines with his record-brekaing debut for Red Devils
JOSE MOURINHO is usually known for his expensive purchases, foreign signings and tight formations.
But today could be a significant change of course in the colourful career of the Portuguese manager, after Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
He named a teamsheet that was United’s youngest of the Premier League era, at 22 years and 248 days.
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It was a starting XI more indicative of Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson or – dare you say it – Louis van Gaal, than tried-and-tested-Jose.
Watching young talent make their debuts is like oxygen for United fans.
Old Trafford buzzes around promising players pulling on the red shirt and strutting their stuff without the shackles of fear.
Scorer Josh Harrop and wing-back Demetri Mitchell did themselves the world of credit in front of the Stretford End on their debuts.
While Joel Pereira in goal, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe have already gotten game time under their belts this season.
Jose’s youngest ever XI
Joel Pereira 20
Demetri Mitchell 20
Josh Harrop 21
Scott McTominay 20
Angel Gomes 16
Axel Tuanzebe 16
Zach Dearnley 18 (unused sub)
Matty Willock 20 (unused sub)
Kieran O’Hara 20 (unused sub)
But most significantly, the debut of Angel Gomes was something that has had United fans bouncing.
At 16 years, eight months and 20 days, the England youngster is the first player to play in the Premier League born after the year 2000.
Duncan Edwards is the only player who is younger to get game time for the club – and just ask Sir Bobby Charlton how good he was.
And just a look at some clips on the internet will show you how highly regarded the lad is, who is related to former United winger Nani.
His father Gil was a Portugal Under-21 international and journeyman pro, but after settling in Manchester, the club will hope he can achieve even half of what Wayne Rooney has – the man he came on for.
Of course, fans shouldn’t forget that Anthony Martial and (often out of favour) Luke Shaw are only 21 and a certain starlet Marcus Rashford is only 19.
And while slightly older Paul Pogba, 24, came through the academy – via a very expensive return from Juventus – and Jesse Lingard, 24, is a local lad.
And there is talk of re-signing Burnley defender Michael Keane, who left under Van Gaal.
Then add United’s loanees to the mix, including Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 20, Andreas Pereira, 21, Guillermo Varela, 24, and James Wilson, 21 (who was injured while out on loan) – and Mourinho will be spoilt for choice when he comes back for pre-season training in July.