United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

October’s Player of the Month: Will Keane

Posted by nickogs20 on November 11, 2009

Scorer of four goals for the academy (including a derby hattrick) and key part of a successful England U17 side, Will Keane breaks the Norwegian strangehold on our monthly award so far this season to earn the honour for October.

The Stockport-born forward endured a frustrating start to the campaign in front of goal but his contribution to United’s attacking play had still been significant. Now, he’s getting the goals that his performances have merited, most notably the three of them that he netted in the superb 3-0 victory over Manchester City at Carrington. The 16 year-old had broken his academy league duck with a consolation strike at Crewe the previous week, and that seems to have opened the floodgates – Keane has already added another goal in the month of November, and sits atop the scoring charts for Paul McGuinness’ academy side with five for the year so far.

Add in a further goal against Kazakhstan for the England U17 side en route to comfortable progress into the elite round of U17 Euro 2010 qualifying (Keane started all three games, against the Kazakhs, Azerbaijan and Serbia) and a debut for the reserves away to Everton (followed by another appearance in the MSC win over Oldham), and it’s fair to say it’s been quite a month for the local youngster.

Keane wasn’t alone in impressing for the academy throughout October – Ryan Tunnicliffe was ever-present and a key figure throughout the month, as he has been all season, while Nicky Ajose’s versatility and eye for goal stood out in a topsy-turvy few weeks. Conor Devlin’s performance at Wolves is almost enough on its own to merit consideration (even without other fine displays), while new signing Paul Pogba has caused quite the stir with some eye-catching contributions in midfield after finally being cleared to play.

The second string weren’t far from having the perfect month, with five wins, 15 goals scored and none conceded in their first five games of October. Alas the penalty shootout exit to Liverpool on the 29th saw the month end on a disappointing note, but it shouldn’t mask what was an impressive period for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, with several players shining. Perhaps most notable was last month’s award winner Magnus Eikrem, who scored two almost identical and equally brilliant freekicks against Sunderland and Blackburn and also chipped in with a stunning 40-yard chip in the former match.

Also worthy of mention are Febian Brandy – who scored three in three games to help earn a loan move to Gillingham – and Zoran Tošić, who turned in fine goalscoring displays against Blackburn and Liverpool, sandwiching an encouraging cameo in the first-team’s cup tie at Barnsley, while at the back, Oliver Gill and Joe Dudgeon continue to impress in understated fashion.

At senior level, Danny Welbeck was another to catch the eye in that League Cup clash, scoring for the second round in succession to set the Reds on their way to the quarter-finals. Messrs Obertan, Macheda and da Silva x2 all earned positive reviews at Oakwell also. Meanwhile away from United but still at first team level, Tom Cleverley has continued his fantastic start to the season with Watford, the winning goal in the Hornets’ away win over Middlesbrough perhaps the highlights as the 20 year-old’s reputation continues to grow and grow.

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As ever, we want to hear your views – agree with our PotM choice, or think one of the other candidates is more deserving? Is there someone we’ve not mentioned who has stood out for you? Let us know in the comments and by voting in our poll – last month, 68% of voters agreed with our choice of Magnus Eikrem as the star man for September.


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7 Responses to “October’s Player of the Month: Will Keane”

  1. n said

    cleverley must have 10 for the season already or something! i was might impressed by tunnicliffe and morisson…

  2. DB said


    Nice comments about our Ravel Morrison … and i quote “Better than Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere, certainly up there with Jack Rodwell, if Morrison does emerge as the pre-eminent English footballer of his generation, it will be because of a certain Scot’s shrewd guidance”. Henry Winter seems to think highly of the kid

  3. Hakan said

    In today’s Telegraph Henry Winter again praises Ravel Morrison as the outstanding English talent of his generation, better than Wilshere and level with Rodwell. If this is true we should already be seeing Morrison on the bench in the PL or at least in the Carling Cup. Rodwell, after all, is already doing very well in Everton’s first XI.
    As you follow the youth teams closely it would be very interesting to read your views about Morrison. How good is he?

  4. nickogs20 said

    I’d imagine Winter means potentially better than Wilshire/Rodwell, not better at this point (he does say ‘if he becomes the pre-eminent talent of his generation’, not that he is at this point). Ravel’s younger than the pair of them and simply isn’t as good as them at this point.

    I’m surprised Winter has spoken quite so highly of someone yet to even play competitively for the reserves, not sure SAF would be happy with it either (might go to the kid’s head, put unnecessary pressure on him etc). He is unquestionably a massively gifted kid, a definite rarity amongst young English players, but there’s a lot of improvement needed in many areas of his game.

  5. Hakan said

    Thanks Nick! You’re right of course that he must be talking about potential rather than actual quality at this moment. I also totally agree that it’s strange that Winter heaps so much praise on a youngster. You wonder how he has formed this opinion, since I don’t think that Winter watches too many of our youth games. I suspect that he’s talked to insiders at Carrington and/or the FA who have praised Morrison.

  6. Max19 said

    There’s a bit on ManUtd.com today “Get to know.. Robbie Brady” and i think he somes up Ravel nicely; “[Speaking about whos the worst trainer] I’ll say Ravel Morrison. When he’s on his game he’s quality. But I reckon it’s just when he fancies it!”

  7. […] ¤ M.E.N. berättar om flera av Uniteds lovande juniorspelare. ¤ United Youth har utsett Will Keane till oktober månads unga spelare i […]

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