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3,637 minutes: United lead Arsenal & Liverpool in promising Premier League statistic, Ten Hag deserves praise

Manchester United have had a below-par Premier League campaign compared to Arsenal and Liverpool, but there has been plenty of promise from the club’s teenagers.

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo have established themselves as undisputed starters under manager Erik ten Hag while Willy Kambwala recently caught the eye.

With the injury crisis in the centre-back department, Kambwala looks set for a regular run of starts alongside Harry Maguire during the season run-in for the club.

Looking at the statistics on FBRef, the Red Devils have now handed 3,637 minutes to teenagers in the Premier League this season.

This is almost three times compared to the rest of the current top six in the Premier League.

Manchester City are the second highest with only 698 minutes. They are followed by Aston Villa (360).

Liverpool have handed only 117 league minutes to teenagers this term despite much talk about ‘Klopp’s kids’ since they beat Chelsea in the League Cup final.

Tottenham Hotspur are fifth on the list (54) with Arsenal bottom of the pile with only 14 minutes which came through Ethan Nwaneri against West Ham United.

Ten Hag arrived at United with the reputation of developing teenagers into potential world-beaters. He has continued in the same vein with Mainoo and Garnacho stepping up into the team.

Kambwala has also shown plenty of promise in his short time with the senior squad, and he could have a huge future ahead of him. Rio Ferdinand recently praised his display against Liverpool.

Not much has gone right on the pitch for Ten Hag this season amid injuries, but the Dutchman has started to replicate his policy at Ajax of handing regular minutes to emerging talents.

Mainoo only made his breakthrough towards the end of 2023, but he would have been in the starting XI for the curtain-raiser in August if he had not suffered an ankle injury in pre-season.

Ten Hag deserves praise for his handling of the academy prospects. Hopefully more teenagers will break into the United squad under the 54-year-old’s guidance next term.

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