Teenager Charlie Wellens trained with the Manchester United first team ahead of their clash against FC Astana in the Europa League on Thursday.
Wellens was promoted from United’s Under 16s side over the summer and rubbed shoulders with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team superstars on Wednesday ahead of their next game at Old Trafford.
The 16-year-old is clearly thought of very highly by Solskjaer, ho is not afraid to use his younger players.
Mason Greenwood and fellow academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe have already been confirmed as starters on Thursday, with Wellens hoping he will eventually be in a position to follow suit by making a first-team debut.
Here’s a look at the youngster as signs point towards a bright future.
Name : Charlie Wellens
Date of Birth : 5th December 2002
Position : Central midfield
Birthplace : Salford
United’s latest youth product is the son of a former United academy player. His father is Richie Wellens, best known for his spells with Blackpool and Leicester City.
Richie left United in 2000 after being part of their academy for three years and currently manages Swindon Town.
He played alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United, where he made one senior appearance in a League Cup game with Aston Villa in 1999.
What sort of player is he?
Wellens is a central midfielder who likes to attack.
He clearly has an eye for goal, already scoring three goals in four appearances for United’s U18 side this season.
The youngster has played in a three-man midfield in all of his this season, so he would be more than capable fitting into Solskjaer’s system.
He will provide Solskjaer with more options in his midfield with Paul Pogba missing training ahead of the game against Astana.
What has Solskjaer said?
Solskjaer explained Wellens’ involvement in first-team training at his press conference on Wednesday.
“It is what we do at this club,” he declared. “We drop them in, give them a little taste for it.
“I know his Dad from when he played and we now he is a very good footballer.
“It is just one of these little drips to make them players.”
Will he play?
Solskjaer’s comments seem to suggest he is highly unlikely to feature against Astana.
However, his inclusion in first-team training shows he is earmarked for a bright future.
Solskjaer has already shown in the past he is happy to hand out debuts to academy players in European games. Mason Greenwood came on in the 87th minute last season in United’s 3-1 win against PSG.
Wellens will be hoping for similar treatment if he makes the bench against Astana. If not, then he could be in the mix later in the season if he takes his chances to impress the boss in first-team training.