Manchester United have a tradition of promoting talented young players coming out of their academy to the first team. Last year, they became the only team in England's top flight to have a homegrown player in 1000 successive matchday squads.
Manchester United gaffer Ole Gunnar Solksjaer knows the pedigree of the players coming through the academy as he had a long and distinguished career at Manchester United as a player. He has handed debuts to many youngsters during the short time he has been in charge at the club.
Manchester United recently adopted a new strategy to develop the academy players, which is evident from the vision that the head of first-team development Nicky Butt outlined a couple of years ago.
"Is it good to have some players just waiting for an U-19s game to come along? No. So we are looking to get players out on loan to develop them so they come back better players and better people for our club, with a real chance of playing on the biggest stage in the world," said Butt.
Manchester United sanctioned loan moves for a number of players from their U-23 squad to lower leagues like Championship and the League One or to foreign leagues. This allows the fulfillment of two objectives. First, it allows players in the U-23 age group to have valuable first-team experience. Secondly, the better players from the lower age groups can test themselves at a higher age group.
We look at 5 academy players out on loan who could break into the first team.
5. Teden Mengi
Teden Mengi is one of the most promising candidates to play for the Manchester United first team in the future. He is seen as a solution to the club's chronic center-back problem by fans. United's backline has not looked imposing after the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Mengi is a Mancunian who is often praised for his leadership qualities on the pitch and the ability to play out from the back. He broke into the U-23 team last season at the age of 18 and was so impressive that he often found himself in the first team's Europa League squad.
The youngster finally made his debut in the same competition against LASK, being sent on in the final minutes to secure a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
Mengi has also made appearances for Manchester United in the Carabao Cup this season. However, in order to give him more playing time, the club agreed to a loan move for the player to Wayne Rooney's Derby County in January. Needless to say, playing under the guidance of a club legend will work wonders for the young prodigy.
4. Dylan Levitt
Already a Wales international, Dylan Levitt is one of the brightest talents to have come out of the academy in recent years. He forced his way into the Manchester United U-18 team in the 2017/18 season and played a vital role in the team's march to the PL North League title.
Levitt was called up to the Wales squad at the end-of-season training camp in 2019 by Ryan Giggs, who was so dazzled with the player's performance that he gave his first call-up to the senior team.
Levitt made his full debut for Manchester United in November of 2019, playing the full 90 minutes in their 2-1 loss to FC Astana in the Europa League.
Levitt's rising stock resulted in him being sent on loan to Championship club Charlton Athletic, where he made 5 appearances in total. A lack of game time led to this loan being terminated in favour of a new loan to Croatian team NK Istra 1961.