Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has finally made his first capture as Toby Collyer heads to Old Trafford – Mirror Football has all the details on the Red Devils new boy
Manchester United have completed the signing of young midfielder Toby Collyer from Brighton and Hove Albion on a three-year contract.
The 18-year-old has been unveiled as the first signing of Ralf Rangnick’s era as coach on Sunday to confirm his arrival. Collyer had agreed personal terms earlier in March and has now put pen to paper on a contract that ties him down to the club until 2025.
There is clearly enough for Man United fans to get excited about, with Collyer dubbed as the ‘best English midfielder’ of players born in 2004. Having come through the ranks at Brighton, it is understood he has been on United’s radar for some time.
That is quite the compliment to pay to the youngster, who will be hoping to continue his development with the Red Devils’ famed youth setup and eventually break into the first team. But what else is there to know about the newest arrival at Carrington?
Mirror Football looks at Collyer’s short career so far and why Man United swooped for the starlet…
Playing style and career so far
The best young players usually make an impression when being tested against older age groups and Collyer followed suit. He made his debut for Brighton’s Under-18s just a few weeks after turning 15 and has never looked back.
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Collyer is a defensive midfielder who is not afraid to get stuck into tackling and control the play from deep, but he has also showed his versatility by filling into a centre-back role with the Under-18s last season. The teenager has captained England at Under-16 and Under-17 level, highlighting his leadership qualities and tendency to lead by example.
Collyer was a key player for Brighton at Under-18 level in 2020-21, making 25 appearances across the season. Such has been his progression, Brighton’s youth coaches handed Collyer a chance to impress with the development squad against Tottenham in January 2021 at the age of just 17.
Interest from other clubs
His game time has been significantly reduced since it emerged he would not be renewing his contract with the club, with only one appearance in the current campaign. And that opened the door to some of the Premier League ’s top clubs to line up a move.
United made their interest known early after tracking Collyer with scouts watching his performances in the Under-18 South division. He was offered a trial by the club in February after it emerged that Chelsea were one of the clubs linked with him, before the Blues were blocked from signing new players.
Subsequently, Collyer headed to Manchester to undergo his trial and earned a deal after making an impression in the centre of the park. The holding midfielder was handed an outing in a friendly with Huddersfield Town and convinced onlooking coaches with an eye-catching display.
What coaches have said
Collyer earned a rave review from his former mentor Mark Beard, who tipped him to develop into a “top-class player”. The ex-Brighton coach, who now manages non-league outfit Dorking Wanderers, also believes United will benefit from his presence in the youth side.
“Even when he was an under-15 he trained with us [the under-18s] a lot. Even though he didn’t play a great deal at under-16 he still trained. You could see he was going to be a top-class player,” Beard told Sussex Live.
“He is a pleasure to coach. He is so low maintenance, what I mean by that is you don’t know he is there. He gets on with his job. He regularly put in displays of 8/10 at the least. He had the best running stats, runs 13 kilometres a game, breaks things up. He is so unassuming, he gets on with his job.
“You want 11 of these type of players in the team. You know what you’re going to get in training, he works hard, he wants to improve, he’s intelligent. He’s a good all-round kid.”