Manchester United’s Under-21s boss Warren Joyce has hinted that Larnell Cole, Tom Thorpe and Michael Keane could all leave on loan this season.
The trio have all played their part for the Under-21s but Joyce feels it is time that they all move on to bigger challenges than competing with United’s reserves.
Last year, Keane enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Championship side Leicester City where he was nominated for the player of the season awards and Joyce would like him to go out on loan again.
“I think some of the others have got to go out on loan,” he told Inside United.
“Even though we’re short of numbers in the Reserves side, they have played there for two years and done their time. They are more than capable.
“I’ve watched Nick Powell who has gone out and done well. Ryan Tunnicliffe is playing well. Federico Macheda had a good start. For sure, Larnell Cole, Tom Thorpe and Michael Keane would all do well in the Championship.
“We’ll just look and see what materialises with those players but it’s difficult as it goes in cycles and we are quite thin on the ground for numbers at the minute. But we have got to do what is best for the players really.”
The trio are certainly good enough to have an impact in the Championship. Keane showed his worth at that level last year while Thorpe has captained the Under-21s and is a real leader from the back who could be a real asset to any side in the Championship. Also, Cole was our top scorer last season despite playing from a deeper role and could have a similar impact to that of Lingard so far.
United are indeed short of players in the Under-21s but the career progression of our youngsters is more important than winning titles at Under-21s level, as Joyce has pointed out.