Hibs kids get chance to impress in first-team friendly as Lee Johnson makes Manchester United comparison
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Murray Aiken, Murray Johnson, Oscar MacIntyre, and Kanayo Megwa will all be included in the squad for the visit of Middlesbrough on Saturday and will hope to stake a claim for further first-team involvement during the remainder of the campaign.
Aiken, a box-to-box midfielder who has captained the under-19s in their UEFA Youth League campaign, and left-sided defender MacIntyre have already made their senior debuts, coming on as substitutes during the 4-0 victory over St Johnstone on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign, and both have featured on the bench for cinch Premiership matches this term.
Goalkeeper Johnson is yet to make his senior bow for Hibs but impressed on loan for Airdrie at the start of the season and along with Aiken and Jacob Blaney, has just returned from international duty with Scotland, facing Iceland, Kazakhstan, and France in three 2023 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifiers.
Megwa can play anywhere in the back four but is most often found in central defence following his move from Brooke House College after a successful trial spell in summer last year.
All four players have regularly trained with the Hibs first team and will now hope to get a chance to impress Johnson in a matchday scenario. Speaking earlier this month, the Easter Road boss said: "It would be brilliant to integrate some of the club's youngsters over the course of the season. That's always the intention and obviously the outs naturally create a bit of a pathway for them.
"If you believe in the young players, you've got to move people on. Probably the best example was the class of ‘97 at Manchester United. Alex Ferguson knew he had that crop coming through so he could move on people like Bryan Robson because Paul Scholes was coming through.
"It's got to be the right timing. Sometimes it can be forced too early, and it's also about doing the right thing for the young player. They've got to be ready at the right time and be coming into a side that's confident and can be successful and look after the things they don't have, which tends to be experience in those moments,” he added.