Wes Brown knows all about making the grade at Manchester United and is encouraged by the current crop coming through under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Having joined the club’s academy at the age of 12, the Mancunian would go on to enjoy a trophy-laden professional career with the first team that spanned over 15 years.
Now the emergence of Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay – who entered United’s youth system at ages eight and five respectively – has impressed Brown.
“The young lads that Ole thinks are capable of playing in the first team, he’ll have them training. There’s probably others that we don’t know about as well, like [Brandon] Williams for instance who’s played a game. And he’ll be watching them every day and he’ll know if they’re ready or not,” Brown said.
McTominay has established himself in midfield and put in another good display on Sunday when United were moments away from a remarkable win over Premier League leaders Liverpool only for Adam Lallana to score in the 85th minute to rescue a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
“Scott’s been brilliant. He might have come in maybe a little too early, but he’s now stood up to it and, as you can see how he’s been playing, he’s been fantastic,” added Brown, who made over 350 appearances for United.
Having played across the back-line, Brown can naturally relate to Tuanzebe’s situation, who has featured briefly in both full-back roles and at centre-back this term.
“Axel, I watched him in pre-season – fantastic. A little bit unlucky at the moment because of the two centre-halves we have, but you need that competition. The players will be all mates, but you need to be battling against each other to try and get in the team,” Brown added.
Given how short United are in midfield at the moment, especially with Paul Pogba injured, it’s curious that impressive reserve team star James Garner hasn’t got the nod yet. But Brown has total faith in Solskjaer’s judgement.
He went on: “He will 100 per cent get his chance to prove a point. Maybe the manager’s feeling this is not the right time for him. Everyone’s different. I started at a very young age, John O’Shea for instance started when he was 21 – he went out on loan and came back.
“Ole might just be feeling it’s not the right time for him yet, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get his chance.”
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