SuperCupNI: United and Rangers young guns are ready to fire
The next generation of aspiring Manchester United stars are ready to roll up at the STATSports SuperCupNI.
Rangers, too, have their top talent poised to tackle the challenge in the youth tournament’s now traditional curtain-raiser to the event.
United face Rangers in an Under-21 game at Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday.
United’s head of education and welfare Dave Bushell, who has been travelling to Northern Ireland with the club’s young players for two decades, said: “It’s an excellent opportunity for our players to show what they can do.”
United hope to include Scottish midfielder Ethan Hamilton in their ranks. He has been at Old Trafford since 2015 and was involved with the reserves at times last season, also spending a spell on loan at Rochdale.
The Scottish Under-19 international was in the first-team panel last season for an FA Cup tie against Huddersfield Town.
Poland Under-17 international defender Lukasz Bejger is another possible arrival for United.
England Under-18 international right-back Ethan Laird is firmly established in the United youth team, while the Northern Ireland-bound squad could also have D’Mani Mellor on board.
The Mancunian, a versatile attacking player, is being considered for the senior squad’s pre-season trip to Austria.
The Rangers youth set-up came in for much praise last season after the side won four trophies.
An Under-17 team won the Qatari ALKASS Cup before the Academy won the Under-18s League and the Scottish FA Youth Cup. Academy players were also involved in the winning of the country’s reserve league.
In addition to striker Chris McKee and centre-back Kyle McClelland, who are both current Northern Ireland youth internationals, other members of the squad which won in Qatar are being considered for the game in Coleraine, which has a 5.30pm start on Saturday.
Andrew Dallas is a Scottish-born striker who has just turned 20 and has been on loan at Stenhousemuir and Greenock Morton. Rhys Breen (19) has featured in the club’s Under-23 squad.
Manchester United’s Under-23 team will take on a senior Ballymena United side at the Warden Street Showgrounds on Monday, July 29 (7.30pm).
Sky Blues boss Jeffrey, formerly a Manchester United youth player, said: “The game has attracted a lot of attention and we are hoping for a large turnout to see the quality on show from our visitors.
“My players are buzzing too. This is a marvellous occasion for them on their home ground ahead of the new season.”
Blue on red: Man United’s Jovani Molenge in action with Lewis
MacKinnon of Rangers in last summer’s SuperCup junior section