Manchester United’s pre-season tour is underway and traditionally, the annual three-week trip offers an opportunity for youngsters to impress the manager.
United’s new boss named a 31-man squad for their games in Thailand and Australia, with several younger players making the trip.
Ethan Laird, Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho are some of the players hoping to make a breakthrough in their United careers, having already made their first-team debuts. Laird, who debuted in 2019, impressed on loan at Swansea last season.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s game against Liverpool, Ten Hag has now explained what he’s looking for from his fearless youngsters, urging them to seize this opportunity.
“What I want to see is that they learn but also they show themselves because they have to deserve a position in top football,” he is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
“You have to deserve your position. It means you have to deliver every day, that demands a certain style, a certain way of life that they have to adapt to, that they probably don’t know yet.
“But I am really looking forward to seeing if they can do it. I hope one or two, they can prove themselves and they come into the squad but, if they want to enter the dressing room, they have to deserve it.”
Plenty of United youngsters have made a name for themselves during pre-season before, with Jesse Lingard’s impressive appearances in 2013 and 2014 winning over David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
There are a couple of players in the 31-man squad who will be hoping for similar impacts this year, with United’s lack of transfer activity potentially offering a pathway into the first team.
James Garner in particular is on the cusp of breaking into the senior side, having impressed with Nottingham Forest as he helped them to Premier League promotion.