Hartlepool United have signed Nick Barmby’s son and Middlesbrough’s youngest debutant for more than 100 years in an attempt to bolster their attacking options.
The Teessiders have not scored in their last three matches, and have only netted 11 times in their last 14.
Hartlepool recently-signed experienced former Newcastle United striker Marlon Harewood to help address the problem and now they have turned to a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old.
Williams, the older of the two, made his Boro debut aged 16 years and 200 days and has played 30 time for them, scoring twice.
“Luke’s very keen and I think he needs a chance to feel good after levelling off since that rise as a 16-year-old,” said Hartlepool manager Colin Cooper, who has used his connections with his old club profitably since moving into management last summer.
“Everybody at Middlesbrough recognises his talent, but it’s a case of finding somewhere for him to develop.”
Williams can play on the wing, as an out-and-out centre-forward or a No 10. Adam Reach also left on loan yesterday, for Bradford City, while Richie Smallwood has joined Rotherham United.
Boro boss Aitor Karanka said: “I had 31 players in training this week and it’s difficult to know the players in training if you can’t watch them play.
“For this reason, Luke Williams, Adam Reach and Richie Smallwood go on loan.”
England Under-19 international Barmby’s Old Trafford career has stalled this season.
He has been limited to two substitute appearances for the Red Devils’ Under-21s this term, and ten minutes in the Manchester Senior Cup. He was born two months too early to play in the UEFA Youth League.
Cooper added: “Manchester United and his dad feel he’s ready to step up from under-21 football.
“It’s very difficult at a huge club like that to break through.
“I think clubs are recognising we’re a good place to send players to develop.”
Both players are expected to go into the squad for tomorrow’s League Two game at home to York City.
Hartlepool have also been linked with 18-year-old Crystal Palace midfielder Hiram Boateng, who has twice played in the FA Cup for the Eagles.