Will Keane – Click the arrow, right, to see the other under-21s pushing for a first team place – The striker was recalled from his loan spell with Preston North End on December 31, only to go straight back into the under-21 side. Keane has scored ten goals in six games since his return to Old Trafford, including five against Norwich on Monday (see his fourth below). Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are in form but Keane should be looked to as a natural goalscoring alternative off the bench. Expect him to feature soon. Axel Tuanzebe – Tuanzebe was promoted to Manchester Uniteds senior team this season and certainly expect him to be putting the pressure on the first-teamers very soon. He is only 18 but is the ball-playing central defender all managers desire and has followed the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville in winning the Jimmy Murphy Award for the best young player for the 2014/15 season. United are thin on the ground defensively with injuries so expect to see Tuanzebe more regularly around Old Trafford. 5 5 Andreas Pereira – Pereira has been a constant fixture on the Manchester United bench this season since scoring on his debut, but has rarely been given an opportunity to shine. He was convinced to sign a new deal in the summer on the promise of more first-team football and has also been denied the chance to go out on loan. He has been the under-21s chief playmaker this season when allowed to play and has combined expertly with Keane and Januzaj when the trio have been deployed in attack. Adnan Januzaj – Like Keane, Januzaj is another who was recalled from his loan spell, having had a difficult time at Borussia Dortmund. However, he has only featured once since his return and that was at left-back. Van Gaal looks uncertain whether he can trust the Belgian, despite him dazzling for the under-21 side. With Memphis Depay struggling, Januzajs name on the teamsheet would be celebrated by the United fans. U21s: Five goals tonight for Will Keane. None better than this beauty… #mufc https://t.co/nJRsADysAW— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 8, 2016 Manchester United have a long, proud history of youth players graduating to the first team and that is something fans are keen to maintain.Whether it be the ‘Busby Babes’ or the ‘Class of ‘92’, the academy has been responsible for producing some of the finest players England has seen.However, one of the criticisms aimed at manager Louis van Gaal is his refusal to embrace the youth team, something that led to ‘disillusioned’ academy chief Derek Langley poised to quit after 16 years at the helm.The Red Devils’ under-21 side is second in the league under Warren Joyce and recently demolished Norwich 7-0 (see the pick of the goals below).Players such as Paddy McNair, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Guillermo Varela and Tyler Blackett have all had first-team spells under the Dutchman but who are the others pushing for a place?talkSPORT looks at the main contenders to stake a claim for a permanent place in United’s starting XI. 5 5 5 James Weir – Like Tuanzebe, Weir was thrust into the first-team picture by Van Gaal when he was named on the bench for the game against Newcastle earlier in the season. He operates as an attacking midfielder but is fairly versatile, having played on the wing, as a box-to-box midfielder and at full-back. With the likes of Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger unable to play every game, and Marouane Fellaini far from convincing, the 20-year-old will be pushing for his debut sooner rather than later.
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