New York Red Bulls academy standout Matthew Olosunde heading to Duke University despite Manchester United links

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Reports this winter had suggested that the US Under-17 international defender was on the verge of joining the Premier League club.

Despite being strongly linked with a move to Manchester United, 17-year-old American defender Matthew Olosunde is heading to college instead.

On Thursday, the New York Red Bulls academy product was named as one of Duke University’s six signees for the upcoming 2016 season, highlighting a strong recruiting class for the Blue Devils.

Speaking to GoDuke.com, Duke head coach John Kerr said of the US Under-17 international: “Matthew is a fantastic player who is comfortable playing in the back or in midfield. He has wicked pace and has incredible defensive recovery speed.

“He has great one vs one instincts on both sides of the ball and will help us right away in a number of positions.”

Olosunde had been a reported target for United since last summer, when the Daily Mail claimed that the right-back-cum-centre-half was training with the club with the view to a permanent move to Old Trafford.

The same newspaper later reported in December that the Premier League side were pressing ahead with discussions to sign the 6ft 1in defender and were preparing to offer him a contract subject to work permits and international clearance.

The New Jersey native has played with the Red Bulls academy for multiple years but spent much of 2015 in US Soccer's Residency Program in the run-up to the U-17 World Cup in Chile last October.

He started the team’s tournament opener against Nigeria but was forced off injured during the 2-0 defeat and missed the rest of the group stages as Richie Williams’ side failed to progress to the knockout rounds.

Considered one of the top full-back prospects in the US, the promising speedster could well be following former Red Bulls defender and recent Chelsea signing Matt Miazga to Europe in the future given his lauded potential, but his football education is set to continue at Duke for the time being.

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