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Jose Mourinho was left with plenty to ponder over as Manchester United’s youth made quick work of a full-strength Crystal Palace side, winning 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Josh Harrop made a dream start to his senior career by scoring the opener in the fifteenth minute, before Paul Pogba put the hosts in the driving seat with a low strike four minutes later.
Although Jose conjured up a weakened side with nothing to play for but a fulfillment of the threshold number of Premier League games in a season, the Portuguese had his sights fully set on the Europa League final on Wednesday night.
United failed to register a top four finish for the second successive season, which begs the question as to what the difference is between Mourinho and the crestfallen Louis van Gaal.
Well unlike his predecessor, Jose has already won two trophies this season, and is set for a final showdown that will help not only define Manchester United’s season, but likewise his future at Old Trafford.
As such, Sunday’s selection saw four academy players receive senior debuts as Mourinho selected the youngest United team in the Premier League era at 22 years, 284 days.
The homegrown youth players exhibited a confident and profound performance with kindred spirits similar to the class of 92, one that earned them the tag ‘Jose’s Juniors’– a name after Fergie’s Fledglings and the Busby Babes.
Manchester United has a rich history of over 139 years, which most assuredly means managers will always come and go; but it takes one with unshakable resolve and strength in character to succeed at the club.
Sir Matt Busby’s tale of tragedy and triumph was centered around the Busby Babes while Sir Alex Ferguson’s fulfillment of the impossible dream was well founded on the cornerstone that was Fergie’s Fledglings.
Having professed his desire to stay at the club for as long as he can, Jose Mourinho should build a formidable team for the future, one that will guarantee long term success for the club- and what a name Jose’s Juniors would be.
Help alleviate injury crisis
Jose could find great solitude in Joel Castro Pereira who kept a clean sheet between the sticks on his debut.
Furthermore, the 20-year old shot stopper could acts as a suitable back up keeper for Sergio Romero should David De Gea leave for Spain in the summer.
Midfielders Josh Harrop and Scott McTominay may likewise harbor great promise for the club, but it is Angel Gomes who is proving to be a hidden gem.
The Portuguese whiz became United’s youngest player in Premier League history after making his debut against Palace at 16 years, 263 days.
With the spirit and culture of the club deeply ingrained in them, Jose Mourinho should strike a balance between the senior players and United’s youth for a strong second xi that will challenge for the domestic cup competitions next season.
This will go a long way in alleviating the injury crisis that came with playing over sixty games this season.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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