Is This New Sheffield Wednesday Signing Ready For Life In The Championship? – Opinion

Former Manchester United academy star Charlie McNeill recently completed his move to Sheffield Wednesday, but is he ready for life in the Championship?

The forward played for both Manchester City and Man United at youth level, with over 600 goals scored. He would go on to rejoin the Red Devils in 2020 for a fee of £750,000.

After an exceptional career at academy level, a loan move to Newport County would be finalised in January 2023. For the League Two side, he would find the net just twice in 2o appearances. Despite the low tally, a first loan in the Football League is tough for centre-forwards given the physicality present in the English pyramid.

Following on from his time at the Exiles, a move to Stevenage would be next. For Boro, he would score a debut goal against Leyton Orient. However, he would go on to play just two more games and was recalled by Erik ten Hag’s side in January 2024.

For the remainder of the campaign, the striker would play for Manchester United’s U21s in the Premier League 2 where he scored three goals and registered one assist in his 13 appearances before his contract ended, leading to his release.

Sheffield Wednesday then managed to secure his signature this summer. A permanent deal would be made as the Owls added to their seven recruits so far in a bid to avoid a repeat of last season’s gruelling battle for survival in the Championship.

As for the Englishman, this is a huge challenge. On the one hand, some commentators would argue that this is a bad move for both parties as the attacker has yet to prove his quality in men’s football. His consistency and power that he used to dominate defenders at youth level have been missing so far. Additionally, the physicality seen in League One and Two also became an issue.

On the other hand, the 20-year-old also hasn’t had a full chance to progress in a team. With time and guidance under Owls boss Danny Rohl, McNeill could eventually develop into one of the league’s best strikers.

It is clear he is talented, as shown by his impressive goal record at youth level. The evidence to suggest this is his 24 goals scored in 21 games for Manchester United under-18s in the 2020/21 season.

Overall, this a hugely important season for Rohl season after avoiding relegation. Sheffield Wednesday will look to build on the momentum from last season, therefore, will they have the time and patience to nurture a young talent?

This is exemplified by the South Yorkshire outfit bolstering their attacking options and are still pursuing Ike Ugbo despite recently securing the services of Jamal Lowe following his release from Premier League side Bournemouth. Perhaps Wednesday will look to send McNeill out on a season-long loan to a side in League One or League Two to avoid his development stagnating any further than his already has.

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