WITH injuries decimating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United side that could give wonderkid Brandon Williams his first start in a Red Devils shirt.
United travel to Holland to face off against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League tonight, with the Norwegian set to ring in the changes.
And Solskjaer, having promised to promote from within, is set to go with a number of academy players, including the 18-year-old left back with Luke Shaw injured, Ashley Young rested and Axel Tuanzebe likely to be moved into central defence.
But that won’t perturb the man touted as the ‘next Denis Irwin’ one little bit. After all, he was first called up to the United squad when they tussled with French giants PSG last season.
Solskjaer revealed: “He didn’t expect to come, but that’s part of being here, that suddenly you’re called upon, [that’s] why you’re in the academy.
“We believe in you and suddenly you have to step up — that’s why we have good coaches to make them ready.”
And the coaches at Old Trafford know exactly how good Williams is, especially those who have Solskjaer’s ear.
Kieran McKenna, now assistant first-team coach, was in charge of the Under-18s as Williams progressed through the ranks.
“They speak to us and we train with the first team and are always around them, so we look up to them and see what they are doing and try to follow them,” Williams told the MEN.
“It’s good to have [Carrick and McKenna] up there because Kieran was our manager last year, he knows our abilities and knows what we’re capable of, and when we get the chance then we take it.”
Mancunian Williams signed a full contract with United in 2018.
Despite being right-footed, he plays at left back and some fans have compared him to club stalwart Irwin – called “world class” by Roy Keane only the other day.
Should those lofty expectations be fulfilled, Williams, who was captain of the U18s, will certainly complete the task Solskjaer has set him.
The United boss believes the teenager can provide stiff competition to Luke Shaw for the first-team’s left-back slot.
And with the England international struggling with a hamstring injury, his chance could come sooner than he thinks.
Last summer, after putting pen to paper on his United deal, Williams expressed his love for the Old Trafford club.
He told ManUtd.com: “I grew up around Manchester and always supported United.
“I just love the club as well. I’ve been here since I was seven so near enough ten years.
“My long-term ambition is just to stay at the club and go as far as I can. Hopefully, one day, I can get in the first team and play regularly.”
With Ole at the wheel, that one day might be sooner than Williams thinks.