From Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, Manchester United’s academy has always been renowned for producing talented central midfielders.
Ethan Galbraith is the latest player to hope to follow in their footsteps and has the talent to become a regular on the First Team at Old Trafford.
Since joining United Academy from Linfield in 2017, he has regularly flaunted his impressive range of passages in the middle of the park.
Galbraith, who is already a fully fledged Northern Ireland international, has a calming influence in midfield and can also easily cut defensive lines.
His incredible ball ability even compared him to some of the greatest midfield maestros of all time.
“Don’t put too much pressure on his shoulders, but he’s our little one [Andres] Iniesta or Xavi, ”Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough said in November 2020.
“Someone who can catch the ball, manipulate it and find positive passes. Over the next few years he will give us a different flavor to the team.
While his ‘simple’ passing game may see him overshadowed by Shola Shoretire or Hannibal Mejbri, he has another string to his bow.
In a win over Manchester City’s Under-18s in April 2018, Galbraith hid at the edge of the zone and hung on at the end of a bad play before breaking a first effort.
The explosive strike won United’s Goal of the Month award and at first glance fans might think they were watching an old Paul Scholes video.
Congratulation to #MUFC Under-18 midfielder Ethan Galbraith, whose screamer against Man City was voted Goal of the Month for April… 🔥🔥
Bow down! 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/m67s8FofGt
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 8, 2018
Galbraith went on to qualify for the Under-23 and made his United debut in November 2019, coming in for the dying minutes of their Europa League loss to Astana.
The midfielder hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do and has yet to add to this lone first-team appearance.
While the likes of James Garner and Dylan Levitt have since been on loan in search of regular football, Galbraith has remained at Old Trafford and continued to impress United’s Under-23s.
The 19-year-old is now one of the most senior players on Neil Wood’s talented Under-23 squad and has led by example throughout 2020-21.
He returned from injury in their 6-2 win over Derby County and improved his fledgling reputation with another amazing out-of-zone training.
After his United team-mate Charlie McCann kicked the ball badly, Galbraith had no such problem and could hardly have connected with it any more smoothly.
United U23s 2-2 Derby U23s
Ethan Galbraith 33 ‘pic.twitter.com/HnDBh7dE53
– Mob (@UnitedMob) May 3, 2021
Having already scored two penalty goals, this was his first open play goal of the season and what a way to get it.
Much like Scholes, Galbraith always seems to find space around the front penalty area hit the ball with precision and thunderous power.
We are already impatiently awaiting his goal in the semi-final of the Champions League against Barcelona in 2028 …
By Nathan Egerton
More from Manchester United
Man Utd literally has his own Zidane – and he even scores goals like Zizou
A celebration of Paul Scholes’ goal against Barcelona, his biggest ever
Can you name all the players Sir Alex Ferguson used in Man Utd’s last season?
Where are they now? All Man Utd Academy Player of the Year since 2000
Planet Football stories