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Harrop leads the way for United's young guns in final day success

Man United 2-0 Crystal Palace


Delight: Josh Harrop enjoys the moment after his opener

Delight: Josh Harrop enjoys the moment after his opener

AFP/Getty Images

Delight: Josh Harrop enjoys the moment after his opener

Josh Harrop introduced himself to Old Trafford in some style as the debutant's stunning strike set the youngest Manchester United team in Premier League history on course for victory against Crystal Palace.

With Wednesday's make-or-break Europa League final against Ajax looming large, Jose Mourinho stuck to his word by resting numerous key players and handing four young prospects their full debut with sixth place already assured. United's performance belied the starting line-up's tender average age of 22 years 284 days, with Harrop marking his first appearance with a superb effort that kicked off a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win against Palace.

Paul Pogba superbly set up the 21-year-old's memorable 15th-minute strike and quickly added to it, firing home and pointing to the sky after missing the previous two games following his father's death.

Pogba and Jesse Lingard were withdrawn before half-time with an eye on the Europa League final, but captain Wayne Rooney played all but two minutes despite Mourinho strongly suggesting he would be rested.

On an afternoon that some suggested could be his final competitive United appearance at Old Trafford, the 31-year-old received a standing ovation as he was replaced by 16-year-old Angel Gomes - the first Premier League player to have been born in the 21st century.

There was precious little time for the England youth international to make a telling impact, but his appearance complemented promising full debuts by Joel Pereira, Scott McTominay, Demetri Mitchell and Harrop.

The quartet performed impressively on what could have been a long afternoon for much-changed United given Palace boss Sam Allardyce ignored Mourinho's plea to go "slow" with a strong line-up at Old Trafford.

The United manager was conspicuous by his absence from the traditional lap of appreciation, which was led by Rooney carrying his baby son Kit.

While the media kept watch on proceedings on the pitch, Mourinho slipped away through a deserted tunnel and had left Old Trafford within 25 minutes of the whistle. There was no interview and the post-match conference room was practically empty when he breezed in and out again without receiving a single question.

MAN UTD: Pereira, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Jones, Mitchell, McTominay, Tuanzebe, Pogba (Carrick, 46 mins), Lingard (Martial, 46 mins), Rooney (Gomes, 88 mins), Harrop. Unused subs: O'Hara, Blind, Willock, Dearnley.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Tomkins, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Puncheon, McArthur (Sako, 60 mins), Zaha (Campbell, 79 mins), van Aanholt (Kaikai, 67 mins), Benteke. Unused subs: Speroni, Dann, Wan-Bissaka, Lee.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Man of the Match: Josh Harrop

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph