Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year = Danny Welbeck
Posted by nickogs20 on May 11, 2008
United U18 manager Paul McGuinness has just announced Danny Welbeck as the winner of the 2007/08 Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award. Welbeck follows in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wes Brown, as well as last year’s winner Craig Cathcart, and richly deserves the accolade on the back of a fine season at both reserve and academy level.
Despite only being a first-year scholar, it was already clear by the time Danny turned 17 in October last year that he’d outgrown Academy football. 9 goals in 15 games – nearly all of those in the first half of the season – were enough to see him promoted rapidly to the reserve side, where he recovered from a slow start to end the season with a further 7 goals in 17 appearances (just 11 of those starts), including a terrific hattrick against Manchester City. His performances at both levels were enough to see him regularly involved in first-team training sessions and named on the bench for the Champions League Quarter Final 2nd leg against Roma, while he also made a first-team debut of sorts in the January friendly against Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia (we’ll gloss over the penalty miss).
Without wanting to go overboard, the last youngster at United to make such an impact so early in their career was arguably Ryan Giggs back in 1991. The strength of the current first-team squad and the way football in this country has changed in the last seventeen years will mean Danny’s introduction to the first-team (should it happen) will be far more gradual and cautious than Giggsy’s was, but it’s no less exciting a prospect.