Academy Watch: Largie Ramazani

Manchester United

Manchester United are no strangers to exciting wingers. Dynamic flanks became a trademark to how Sir Alex Ferguson's teams played over the years thanks to the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, in recent memory, some very promising academy products have failed to make their mark out wide — but a new era led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be about to change that.

Led by Marcus Rashford, who of course broke through under Louis Van Gaal and is now emerging as one of the world's best wide men, United's current academy is equipped with some tremendously talented wingers. Having already profiled the likes of Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire, the focus of this week's Academy Watch is a player who is already making waves in the U23 side despite not being much older. That player is Largie Ramazani.

Age: 19
Date of Birth: 27/2/2001
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Winger
Preferred Foot: Right 

Career Stats
Manchester United U23 — Apps: 13 | Goals: 9 | Assists: 2
Belgium U19 — Apps: 1 | Goals: 1 

Out of the players we have looked at so far, Ramazani is the oldest but also arguably the most first team ready by quite a margin. Having just turned 19 a few months ago, the Belgian youth international's transition into U23 football this season has been seamless. 

Ramazani got some reserves minutes under his belt last year but he really kicked on and established himself as one of the better forwards at that level this term. This was subsequently rewarded with a first team debut.

Ramazani came off the bench to make his senior bow in the memorable Europa League group stage match away to Astana. The Belgian was a part of the foray of youngsters trusted with going over to Kazakhstan and seeing out the game in order to give some key players a much needed rest. The young United side lost marginally, but a lot of players got a chance to make an impression — Ramazani being one of them. 

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He hasn't featured in Solskjaer's plans since, but he's certainly not far away. Ramazani has all the tools a modern day winger needs to eventually make the jump up to that level. Pace, flair, and now also end product. 

Decision making and finishing was always going to be crucial for Ramazani to make the next step in his development going into this season and he's delivered it at the first time of asking — scoring nine times and adding two assists in 13 PL2 appearances. 

Standing at 5'6", Ramazani is a problem for full backs because of his speed and low center of gravity. His frame is already well filled out in comparison to a similar player in Tahith Chong, for example, giving Ramazani an advantage in terms of physicality in 1 v. 1 duels. 

Ramazani is also respectable with both feet and as a result comfortable playing on either wing. Out of his nine goals, five came from the left, three from the right and one when he was deputising as a center forward.  His eye for goal makes him a threat all across the front line.

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The focus for wingers back in the day was to beat their man and get a cross in from the byline as soon as possible. Nowadays, the priorities have changed ever so slightly. The most valuable contributions come in form of goals and that goes for everyone involved in the final third. But, with that said, providers are very much needed too, and once Ramazani adds a few more assists into his game, he will be en route to becoming a complete winger. 

With Solskjaer's philosophy very much inclusive of the youth, Ramazani's future could very well lay at United if he continues his development at the rate he has been and his stars align. But for now, improvement should be and likely is his sole focus. 

For the likes of Elanga, Hannibal Mejbri and even Shoretire, progressing into the U23 side next season is the next step. They need to do what Ramazani did this season. 

In Ramazani's case, he's already outgrown that level of football and that becomes evident once you see him square up against the defenders in charge of stopping him. The same can be said for someone like James Garner. And therefore, a loan move would be the wisest option for him and a number of other promising players that are knocking on the first team's door, but perhaps just not quite there yet. 


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