The Rise of the forward destroyer

Over the last decade we have seen the disappearance of the classic number 10, especially in European football. The most famous example of course being Juan...
Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9.

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Manchester United Youth Rankings 2016 #2- Callum Gribbin

This is the ninth post in a series of 10, where reddit users /u/monsieurryan and/u/rdzzl have rated the ten best players playing for Manchester United’s youth teams. This post is on Callum Gribbin and the previous posts include #10, Joe Riley, #9, Demetri Mitchell , #8, Tosin Kehinde#7 Sean Goss ,#6 Marcus Rashford , #5 RoShaun Williams#4 Joshua Harrop and #3 Axel Tuanzebe.

Callum Gribbin has the best attacking talent I have seen since Ravel Morrison in the Man United academy and he surprisingly didn’t make our list last year. Not sure the reason for that…possibly because we didn’t really see much of him at the time. Gribbin seems to float across the pitch when the ball is at his feet. It almost seems effortless. He has the playmaking ability of a number 10 but the tempo of a number 8. The only concern I have with him is his attitude. Seems to think he should be playing first team football by now but that just isn’t that way that it works at big clubs like Manchester United where there is too much on the line. Callum’s left foot is class, be it dribbling, shooting, or taking free kicks. If he can make similar stride like what Januzaj did jumping from u18 to u21 and then finally to the senior level then he will be a hell of a player. /u/monsieurryan

Salford-born Callum Gribbin has earned quite a bit a hype over the last year. After rumours about City waving £11k a week at his face, this definitely picked up.

I heard about Gribbs through our scouting network and everyone would say, ‘You have to see this lad, he is similar to this player, or that player. Then I’d go and look at him, then within five minutes, you can see that this boy is something special”. Kenny Swain, former England youth coach.

And he is bang on. Gribbin is definitely something else. The comparisons with assistant manager Ryan Giggs are common, as he loves to wait out players, kick the ball past them and leave them looking silly. What separates Gribbs from many other players at his age, is that he seems to have virtually everything needed to make it. He has a decent body to grow into, he’s quick on short distances, he has vision and timing when passing on his left, and he tries things. Things you don’t expect. And more often than not, he will succeed. And as a watcher of him playing, you may at this point expect your jaw to drop.

 

After all the trouble with the interest from City and Liverpool, United fans should be delighted that he signed the dotted line on a 4 year contract with the club. This was allegedly done through great man management of LvG, as he introduced Callum Gribbin to occasional first team trainings and had talks about the future for the kid. In times when there has been days or even weeks between the times the management receives some praise, this is definitely a point in which they deserve some. Losing him would have been awful.

 

The thing that stands out the most about him for me is how well he utilises his abilities. I find that a lot of young players have certain great abilities or physical traits, but are either unwilling or unaware of how to use them to their benefit. Gribbs knows exactly how to make the most of his physique, agility, technique, and left foot. Seeing him bang freekicks in the top corner, gliding past four or five players, or playing a perfectly timed through ball has become a thing we expect from him. That said, there is still a long, long way for him to go. Many players show promise, face a nasty injury and are off to a lower divisions career or retirement. Others are unwilling to put in the effort and with the seriousness needed to become the best player they can. There are also players who just seem to never get a chance as the first team is packed with similar types, or have great players already filling the position. Luckily for Callum Gribbin, he can slot in on several attack positions. If you asked me today, I would not be able to tell you where he’ll play in the future. He has abilities to become a midfielder, inside winger, an in-the-hole player or even a striker. What is certain, is that he is definitely one to watch. Do not be surprised if you see his name pop up more frequently in 2016, as more opportunities to play for the U21s may present themselves, and more opponents get to experience Gribbin taking the piss out of them on the ball.

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