After scoring his first goal on debut for the Chile national team earlier in the month speculation has mounted that the 18-year-old could be sent out on loan to gain experience against English opposition. Could a move to Wigan Athletic be as productive as it was for Tom Cleverley?
Manchester United were busy in the summer buying striker Robin Van Persie from Arsenal. Among the entire furore that accompanied the RVP deal it could have slipped some less stringent football fans by that another striker had also been brought to Old Trafford.
In August the club agreed a deal with Universidad de Chile to sign precociously talented striker Angelo Henriquez. The 18-year-old had caught the eye in Chile with 15 goals in 27 games during the 2012 Primera Division and United moved very quickly to acquire the talent ahead of any other potential suitors.
Since then he has made steady progress in the reserve ranks at Old Trafford. He scored in his first appearance against Newcastle and has since gone on to score again. United scouted him from the age of 15 and Sir Alex himself gives him a seal of approval:
“Angelo has made a tremendous impact on the game in his short career so far. His pace is a great asset and he reads the game really well for someone of such a young age. We have a proud record of developing young talent and Angelo fits the profile of a United player – skilful, attacking and someone who plays the game with real flair.”
His form has caught the attention of the Chilean national team and he continued to add to his burgeoning reputation with a goal on debut against Serbia in Switzerland. After coming on for Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez he got his head onto an inch perfect set-piece from Matias Fernandez to send the Chilean commentator into a typical frenzy…
However as recently as September Chilean under-23 coach Fernando Carvallo doubted whether the move was a good decision; feeling that he should have continued his development in the Universidad first team:
'Henriquez won't get many opportunities at Manchester United. It would have been better for him to continue growing at Universidad. It's an advantage to have players in Europe, but the acceleration of their growth process does suffer. In Chile a lot of them were regulars for their teams, but over there they aren't really under consideration.'
When you take into consideration his previous first-team regularity and clear raw talent is it time for Sir Alex to give him a first-team opportunity? Clearly United are blessed with attacking talent at the moment with Van Persie, Rooney, Welbeck and Chicarito all battling for starting berths so perhaps a loan deal in January could work.
It has been mooted in some quarters that after being increasingly impressed with his progress United want to test him against English defences whether in the Championship or a team lower down the Premier League table. Wigan Athletic have been mentioned as a potential option due to Roberto Martinez being a Spanish speaker and the success Tom Cleverley had at the DW Stadium.
But what do you think? Will sending Henriquez out on loan benefit him more than being in the United under-21 team?
image: © markscottjohnson