Larnell Cole to step up for Manchester United?

Olt Trafford Outside

Manchester United play in the League Cup on Wednesday against Newcastle, in a competition they are famed for handing chances to young stars in. Can Larnell Cole expect a call-up?

It is just over a year ago that Larnell Cole made his debut in a Manchester United shirt, coming on as a subsitute in the Red Devils' 3-0 win away to Leeds in the Carling Cup.

The cup has a new name now, the Capital League Cup, and this Wednesday they will face a tricky challenge when they host Newcastle United.

They will be expected to rotate their squad again, and 19-year-old Cole will be hoping for another opportunity to impress. He is a right-sided midfielder who has added goalscoring to his game of late, and is beginning to outgrow United's youth set up.

Sir Alex Ferguson hinted earlier in May that the club were keen to loan out a number of their youngsters, but it has not happened, with talk he has become disenchanted with the loan system, after disappointing spells for Federico Macheda over the past two seasons.

So Cole and fellow starlets Lingard and Michael Keane have remained at Old Trafford, but it is perhaps Cole who has the greatest opportunity of the three of featuring this week.

Cole scored the winner last week for United's under-21 side in a 1-0 win over Wigan, pouncing on a mix-up in the Latics defence to net the game's only goal.

So that will have done a bit to catch the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, as he prepares to select his team for midweek. There will be others including Bebe, and Robbie Brady hoping to be involved, and Cole could be the surprise call-up.

Other options wide on the right include Valencia and Nani, but both were included at the weekend at Anfield and are likely to be left out, while Bebe has shown he is not a wide midfielder on previous outings. Cole is the more natural fit.

He has progressed well over the past year, making appearances for England's under-19s, and was shortlisted for United's Reserve Player of the Year Award, and was included on the bench on New Year's Eve for the first team's 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn.

Cole signed a new three-year deal with United in July, so they don't have to worry about him leaving like Fryers and Pogba, and Ferguson may just decide to send a message to fellow youngsters by including him on Wednesday, that if they commit their future to the club, they will get their chances.

There may not be too many other opportunities this season for the tricky midfielder, who can also play at right-back, so if he does get a chance from the start, he will be determined to take it.

Should United throw Larnell Cole in on Wednesday?

image: © Paolo Camera

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