Manchester United are preparing to send up to four under-23 stars out on loan to Football League clubs next season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to build for the club’s future.
United boss Solskjaer has been vocal about his passion for promoting youth as he seeks to return the Red Devils to the glory days they enjoyed when he was a player at Old Trafford.
This season saw Mason Greenwood establish himself in the first team in a breakthrough season for the teenage striker. Fellow academy graduate Scott McTominay was one of United’s most consistent players, while Brandon Williams staked his claim for the left-back spot.
And Marcus Rashford continued to set an example that United’s youngsters can aim to emulate, finishing as the club’s joint-top scorer in the Premier League with 17 goals, the same tally as teammate Anthony Martial.
As Solskjaer and head of first-team development Nicky Butt look to develop the next generation of homegrown United stars, some of the club’s most highly-rated young players will be heading out on loan to gain crucial first-team experience.
One young player who edged closer to the first-team picture this season was highly-rated midfielder James Garner, who earned starts in the Europa League and EFL Trophy and made an appearance off the bench in the Premier League.
Competition is fierce in United’s midfield, with Bruno Fernandes having arrived from Sporting Lisbon in January and Paul Pogba returning to fitness since football’s restart.
So 19-year-old Garner looks set to be loaned out to a Championship club in the new season, with Swansea City and Sheffield Wednesday having shown an interest, according to Goal.
Midfielder Dylan Levitt also looks set for the Championship after impressing on his first senior appearance against Astana in November.
Levitt, 19, was a regular starter for the U23s last season and was on the brink of making his senior Wales debut before the football season was halted due to coronavirus.
Goalkeeper Matej Kovar would also benefit from a loan, with his path to the first team blocked by David de Gea, Dean Henderson and Lee Grant.
Kovar has travelled with the first team but is yet to make his senior debut.
The 20-year-old kept two clean sheets in four starts in the EFL Trophy last term, pulling off some impressive saves, and registered five shutouts in 11 starts in the U23 league.
Henderson has already shown what can achieved during a loan spell, having impressed for Sheffield United this season and earned the admiration of Chelsea, among other clubs.
Attacking right-back Ethan Laird made his debut against Astana in the Europa League in November, leading to a number of clubs enquire about his loan availability last year.
Laird, who has just turned 18, suffered a knee injury last year and could be given more time to recuperate in Manchester before being sent out on loan – but could no doubt challenge for a regular starting spot at an EFL club when fully fit again.
Centre-back Teden Mengi, meanwhile, will remain at the club to further continue his development, with the 18-year-old having trained with the first team since the restart.