Why a loan move to Leeds United could be the making of Ashley Fletcher

Elland Road

Leeds United have been linked with a loan move for a very talented young forward.

Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring the second goal for Barnsley

According to a report from the Sun (5/6 page 65) Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is keen to bring Manchester United youngster Ashley Fletcher in on loan next season. So what do Whites fans need to know about the 20-year-old striker?

Rewind 12 months and Fletcher was the young forward Manchester United fans were tipping to be the next breakthrough star at Old Trafford.

A natural finisher with pace to burn and confidence that belied his age he was a truly exciting prospect – and remains so – but when the time came for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal to call on a teenage talent it was Marcus Rashford who got the nod, with Fletcher out on loan at Barnsley.

Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring the first goal for Barnsley

Had he remained at his parent club he would no doubt have been fast-tracked into the first-team ahead of his younger teammate.

After all, the recent England international had not even featured for United’s under-21s prior to his debut brace in the Europa League.

In contrast, Fletcher had impressed at that level, with teammate Phil Jones telling mufc.com that the teenager was terrific.

After scoring regularly at under-16 and under-18 level, Fletcher ended last season with three goals in his last three appearances for United’s under-21s, suggesting this would be his breakthrough year.

It was in part, with a temporary spell at Barnsley leading to nine goals and four assists in 26 appearances, and now Leeds are said to be interested in bringing him to Elland Road.

Barnsley's Ashley Fletcher celebrates after the game

At 20, he is the perfect age to make an impact with the Whites – a youngster with the hunger to succeed and the desire to prove Rashford is not the only exciting prospect coming through the Old Trafford ranks.

Leeds manager Garry Monk will no doubt have plenty of targets but if Fletcher is among them it would be a sensible move.

With the right tutelage and a little bit of luck he could yet be every bit as effective as Rashford, and Leeds could be set to benefit from that for at least one season if Cellino gets his way.

Swansea manager Garry Monk

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