85 years and counting. For more than 85 years, Manchester United have had an academy graduate in their first-team squad. The relationship between Manchester United and their academy is special. It has long been a source of pride for the club that the best young talent worldwide, especially in England, strives to play for them. Henry Amass, the 16-year-old LB currently at Watford, is close to joining that crop to play with his friend, Shea Lacey.
Shea Lacey sends a hint as he celebrates with United target Harry Amass 😬
Pointing to the watch…done deal soon? 👀 pic.twitter.com/EymnP0nukw
— academyarena Utd (@academyarenaUTD) April 7, 2023
So, who is Harry Amass, and is the excitement surrounding his potential arrival worth it? Here’s a look-
Who is Harry Amass?
England’s youth system is increasingly flourishing, especially regarding adventurous full-backs. Harry Amass is the latest name from that conveyor belt of talent.
Amass has come through the Watford academy. Despite the huge upheaval in the senior setup, the Watford academy has been the breeding ground for many of English football’s top talents.
A current member of United’s first team, Jadon Sancho, took his first steps in football with Watford before joining Manchester City’s academy. He has never looked back since.
🚨 United are also keeping tabs on Watford's 16-year-old left-back Harry Amass who is viewed as a possible future replacement for Luke Shaw. [Simon Jones, @MailSport] #MUFC 🔴✅ pic.twitter.com/Rgi0dHgBXy
— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) April 3, 2023
Aged just 16, Amass has only just taken his first steps in football. However, he is already a crucial member of Watford’s U18 team.
The FA Youth Cup was the showcase in which Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo made their name for United before breaking into the first team. Amass has made a similar impact for Watford.
Harry Amass stats
Due to just starting his career in professional football, the sample size of stats for Harry Amass is minuscule. He has made just two appearances for Watford U18s in the FA Youth Cup, starting both games and playing 98% of all available minutes.
This 2022/23 season is his first with the U18 squad. The coaches at Watford have entrusted him with such an important defensive role despite being just 16 speaks volumes of his potential.
He had no goals or assists in his two games in the FA Youth Cup, although that was not for lack of trying. This leads to his adventurous playing style.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Rico Lewis, Reece James, Kyle Walker-Peters, and many more English right-backs have one thing in common. They are all attack-minded players who are so physically fit they can help on the defence as well.
Harry Amass looks to be cut from the same cloth. During his limited minutes, Amass has shown great intelligence while making forward runs and picking out a pass. Moreover, he already has a keen sense of tackling.
Amass regularly wins the ball by putting his body between the ball and the attacker. Despite being just 16, and regularly playing against 18-year-olds, Amass is able to use his physical attributes to maximum effect.
One can expect that with more growing and filling up of his frame, Harry Amass would be a terror to deal with for the opposition.
He combines his physical gifts with technical mastery on the ball that belies his age. He has repeatedly shown the ability to wiggle out of the opponent’s press using his close-control dribbling.
If his attacking attributes keep developing at this rate, then his future might not even be at LB. There are signs that Amass’ skillset could be better utilised further forward.
Harry Amass’ potential
Making a bet on a 16-year-old’s potential who has played just two FA Youth Cup games is always risky. However, if early signs are anything to go by, Amass looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Full-back is a position that needs the most multi-faceted skillset in modern football. He looks to have that in spades as evidenced by his playing style. This is why English elites have been tracking him from afar for a long time.
His ceiling looks certain to be that of a Premier League-level player. To make that jump from a Premier League player to becoming elite in the league, there are a lot of factors that play a part.
If those factors, like injury concerns, opening in the first-team, and breakthrough initial performances all break right for Amass, then the sky is the limit for the youngster.
Harry Amass at Manchester United
Reports suggest that Manchester United are close to signing Harry Amass as a scholar. This would be a coup for Manchester United’s youth ranks. Chelsea and Manchester City were also reported to be tracking him.
Watford’s Harry Amass certainly liked by Man United – one source said move to be a scholar there is as good as done. Club say player is admired but nothing ‘complete yet’. Left-back turned down Chelsea and Man City approaches. @NizaarKinsella was first to report.
— Jacque Talbot (@jac_talbot) April 7, 2023
He would be much more likely to come and make an impact at Manchester United. Alvaro Fernandez, the Spanish flying fullback, is currently on loan at Preston. His days in age-group football are over. United lack options in the fullback position in the U18 and U23 categories. Therefore, Amass should instantly become a starter for Manchester United U18s.
From there, it would be up to Amass to extract the maximum from his vast potential and hope to make the grade at Manchester United. Because as Erik ten Hag has shown with Garnacho this season, and is the ethos at Manchester United- If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.