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Thornley exclusive: Why Callum Gribbin pushed out of Man Utd

Former Manchester United winger Ben Thornley thinks attitude could have been a factor in Callum Gribbin's exit from the club.

Gribbin was one of the highest-rated youngsters at Carrington and starred in United's youth sides alongside future first-team players such as Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe.

So what happened to the 20-year-old for him to be released by the club in June?

Injuries certainly played their part as the Salford native managed a total of just 10 appearances in the Premier League 2 over the past two seasons.

But there could be something more to it according to Thornley, who watched Gribbin live in his role as an analyst for MUTV.

While acknowledging his undoubted talent, the Class of 92' graduate believes attitude could have contributed to the club not renewing his contract.

Thornley told "I saw a little bit of Callum in the junior sides last year. He didn't feature prolifically in the U23s but I think he played in the 18s and 19s, and from what I saw he was a very talented player with two great feet and a fabulous dribbler of the ball.

"But the management has seen something in him. I don't know whether it might be his attitude or work rate on the field, but sometimes I did call that into question when I was commentating."

A number of academy players were elevated to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first-team squad for this season.

After impressing in preseason, the talented quartet of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and James Garner will be used by Solskjaer this season.

And Thornley thinks a potential lack of first-team opportunities might have also forced Gribbin to search for a different path, just as it did for him during his time at United.

"There's no doubt he's got ability but I think with the people that he's brought Ole Gunnar so far, and the lads that are in front of him - Chong, Gomes, Garner, Greenwood - maybe his path is going to be limited into the first team and maybe it was a decision that he might have wanted to make for himself.

"Somebody with his ability needs to be showcasing that somewhere and I've always gone off the philosophy, if you haven't made your first-team debut by the time you finish your teenage years, it's going to be highly unlikely that you'll ever feature on a regular basis and you need to do that.

"It's very different if you're coming back from injury and you have been regular first-team squad player or member. But lads at 22 or 23, they shouldn't still be playing, that should be a platform for 18 and 19 year old's to be trying to push their way into that first-team or for people in the stands to be plucking them and saying we'll sign him or we'll take him on loan for the season.

"Maybe that's what Callum Gribbin has decided for himself, along with club's help, that it's better for him to go and seek first-team football elsewhere. It was something that I had to do and which is what many, many people will have to do at the clubs they are with if they want to progress their career."

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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