The once Manchester United hot prospect who had a season to forget

Bury

Nicky Ajose was signed by Peterborough last summer, but he has now been transfer listed by the club.

With young players it is notoriously difficult to know who will go onto make it, and who will fade into obscurity.

At one stage both Jermaine Pennant and David Bentley of Arsenal were tipped for the very top, as was striker Arturo Lupoli, who now plies his trade in Italy's Serie B.

A young talent not quite as heralded as some others, but who showed great signs of progress in 2010/11 was Manchester United attacker Nicky Ajose.

Ajose is now 20, and still has the world at his feet, but has endured a miserable season.

In 2010/11 he was loaned out by Sir Alex Ferguson to League Two side Bury. He had a fantastic start, scoring 11 goals in his first 16 games for the club, reaching 13 in total, helping the side gain promotion.

He even came back and scored for United's reserves at the end of the season, and in many ways it was a surprise to see United so willing to sell a player who had shown great signs of progress.

United's usual next step would have been to loan him to a Championship club, but the Red Devils clearly felt that the path to first team football would be too difficult for Ajose to negotiate, and made the decision to sell him.

Ajose is a winger, who can play behind the striker, and a number of clubs were interested in him last summer, including Middlesborough, Leeds, Southampton, and Premier League club Norwich, but it was Sir Alex Ferguson's son Darren who won the race, bringing him to Peterborough.

The former England under-17 attacker was praised by Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony as an 'excellent addition', while his once Bury coach Richie Barker decribed him as one of English football's 'hot properties'.

It was a big chance for Ajose, being able to play in the Championship, but he has barely had a look-in, since signing, and his time at London Road looks to be over after just one season.

One season, one appearance, that sums it up, Posh fans have not really had a chance to see the best of him, they've not really had the chance to see him at all.

He hasn't been selected by Ferguson, who has deemed him surplus to requirements, and he was sent on two loan spells, to Scunthorpe, where he played seven times, and Chesterfield where he made 12 appearances.

He scored one goal for Chesterfield, which came against the club he had so much success with a year before, Bury.

Now the season is over, Peterborough, who finished 18th in the Championship, have transfer listed Ajose.

So what next for the former Manchester United trainee?

Clearly, all is not lost, he is only 20, and has his whole career ahead of him. The travails he has had at Peterborough this season should toughen him up and make him want to work harder to succeed.

He will have little trouble finding a club in League One, Bury would take him back and MK Dons have shown an interest, but he will harbour ambitions of playing in the Championship and proving Peterborough wrong.

If an offer from a club in the calibre of those interested in him last summer, such as Middlesborough, can be convinced to go back in for him, it would be a real coup for him.

Either way, he will have to knuckle down next season and get playing regular football and scoring goals. He may be young, but he needs to get his career back on track and keep his previously strong momentum going.

A breakthrough season in 2012/13, and perhaps he can start dreaming of finally playing Premier League football.

image: © Ingy the Wingy

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